Book review: Craig Johnson's 'The Western Star' is an excellent addition to his Longmire series

Posted 10:45 a.m. Thursday

"THE WESTERN STAR," by Craig Johnson, Viking, 304 pages (f)

Craig Johnson’s “The Western Star” is on target as an excellent addition to his Longmire series. Whether a fan of the book or Netflix series, the reader will enjoy the fast-paced action and crisp dialogue. It’s a story told in the past and present, expertly handled by the author, that lets us peek into Sheriff Longmire’s earliest days.

Walt Longmire is sheriff in Absaroka County, Wyoming. He has made the same trip he’s done every four years to the parole hearing of one of his earliest arrests. It’s a promise he made to himself to make sure this criminal does the time given: life without parole. This time is different because the prisoner has medical issues that could qualify for a compassionate release. Longmire can’t allow that to happen.

The secondary level deals with Longmire's early career and how the criminal was caught. It’s 1972, and Longmire is a brand-new deputy and husband trying to figure out what his future should be. It doesn’t help that his wife isn’t so sure she wants to stay his wife. His boss and mentor Sheriff Lucian Connelly has taken Longmire on The Western Star, a train ride with all the sheriffs in Wyoming. When one of the sheriffs is murdered and another goes missing, who should you suspect on a train full of lawmen? Be warned, it will leave you wanting to pick up the next book.

There is some adult language and a couple of vaguely-referenced sexual situations in the book. The violence is nongraphic. I recommend it as a well-written mystery with great description of characters and scenery.

Craig Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming: population 25. He’s served in law enforcement and has a ranch adjacent to the Crow and Cheyenne American Indian reservations. He loves rolling up his sleeves and tackling a blank page.

Kent Larson loves family, writing prose and poetry, reading, music and movies. He's been teaching English forever and still loves it. He is also a self-published author on Amazon. Find him at


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