Friday, November 20, 2015

Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson

Most of the tales in Wait For Signs are winter stories and descriptions of six-foot snow drifts and thermometer readings of ten below zero will send you scrambling for a cozy blanket to curl up under as you read them.
Craig Johnson (who I posted about here after his recent appearance at the Louisville Public Library's Author Series) is the author of these short stories and thirteen full-length mystery novels featuring his modern day Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyoming. The first story in this book, "Old Indian Trick," was written ten years ago, more or less on a dare from his wife, as an entry for the Tony Hillerman Mystery Short Story Contest.  

He won.

I have read about half of the dozen stories included in this collection. I was quite taken with Mr. Johnson and his entertaining talk and have been watching the Longmire series on Netflix. I tried to read these tales as someone who wasn't familiar with the characters to see if they held up on their own. Oh, yes. They are thoughtful and funny and it is a delight to be in Sheriff Longmire's world. 

Mr. Johnson has a calm or maybe I should say gentle writing style. These stories are more about character than action. Just short episodes in the day - or night - of a Wyoming sheriff. 

Heck, some of the stories don't even involve a crime. Of course there are ones that do - there is the unveiling of an arsonist whose crimes have gone unsolved for decades; a Christmas Eve encounter with an old woman waiting for Jesus (lucky for her she gets Longmire instead; not so lucky for her abusive husband); and, a slick-tongued Bible salesman who tries to put one over on Longmire. You can imagine how that turns out.

Wait for Signs is a wonderful introduction to Sheriff Walt Longmire's law-and-order ways. You can consider this a Sign from me that there is no reason for you to Wait to meet him.


  1. There you go--the perfect first introduction to Sheriff Longmire. Will have to see if the library has this collection. Hope you have a happy weekend!