About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Any Other Name by Craig Johnson

Any Other Name by Craig Johnson - Former Absaroka County Sheriff, Lucian Connally, calls upon current sheriff, Walt Longmire, to go with him to Gillette, Wyoming which is in neighbouring Campbell County.

Walt is reluctant to go because his daughter, Cady, is about to have a child in Philadelphia and wants her father with her. He has committed to being in Philadelphia a few days later. Still Walt goes with Lucian

Lucian and Walt meet with Phyllis Holman, long crippled from an auto accident, who wants them to investigate the death of her husband, Gerald Holman. He had been the Cold Case Task Force for Campbell County.

Gerald had been found dead in a local hotel room killed by a shot from his .357 revolver. The County conclusion had been suicide. Phyllis cannot believe Gerald would ever kill himself.

Lucian warns Phyllis that:

        “I want to warn you that if you put Walter on this you're
        going to find out what it's all about, one way or the other ......
        You're sure you want that? Because he's like a gun, once you
        point him and pull the trigger it's too late to be change your  

After looking at the reports and examining the hotel room Walt believes Gerald did kill himself. Still he will find out why Gerald would decide to commit suicide. What puzzles Walt most is that there were 2 shots. The first had gone through his cheek. The second killed him.

Walt and Lucian stay at the same motel where Gerald died. In an example of Lucian’s direct action when impatient, after the waitress fails repeatedly to notice they want a second cup of coffee with breakfast, Lucian shoots the coffee urn in front of them and fills his cup from the coffee spouting out. Walt is left to apologize to the owner and replace the urn.

After a short confrontation with Gerald’s replacement, Inspector Richard Harvey, who is resentful of Walt’s presence in another county the files Gerald had been working are turned over to Walt.

He is surprised when he discovers Gerald was looking into 3 cases of women who had disappeared from the County fairly recently. There are no apparent connections but Walt is troubled by the disappearances.

How could missing women relate to Gerald's suicide?
At the same time he is getting urgent calls from Cady that he cannot be late for the arrival of the child.

The investigation takes Walt and Victoria into Western South Dakota at Deadwood where Henry Standing Bear joins them. Victoria has physically recovered from the wound she sustained in the last book.

Walt and Henry get caught in a vicious snowstorm conducting a chase. Reminiscent of Napoleon “Bony” Bonaparte, Henry demonstrates impressive tracking skills when he determines there are no more tire tracks before them despite the blinding snow:

        The Cheyenne Nation shrugged. "Did not see it - I felt it. And
        heard it; the snow feels and sounds different when it has not
        been driven on." He raised a hand again. "Stop." We slid and
        then rocked back and forth like a moored boat as the Bear
        unclicked his seat belt. "They went off the road here".

There is another fascinating weapon of the Old West involved in the story. In the opening book of the series it was a Buffalo Sharps rifle. In this book it is the legendary 1847 Colt Walker revolver, 15 ½” long and weighing just under 5 pounds.

Walt remains an engaging character. After watching Robert Taylor play him in the T.V. series, Longmire, he is my image of Walt. Lou Diamond Phillips will never be Henry Standing Bear for me.

The book continues to reflect the setting of rural Wyoming and is clever and easy to read. While Johnson drew me swiftly through the book I have some regrets.

Walt continues to use more violence than I believe needed or deserved for his character. My next post will further discuss the issue.

Except for Walt’s foray to Philadelphia in Death Without Company I have not thought the books that see him on personal ventures in other settings are as good as those set in Absaroka County. He is a Sheriff not a lone Western lawman. The books where he works with his deputies are the best books in the series.

It remains a good series but I recommend the earlier books over the later books. I keep hoping Walt will return to being a lawman not an action figure.


  1. I know exactly what you mean, Bill, about Walt returning to being a lawman. He's best when he's in Absaroka county working with his team and solving crimes. Interesting that you'd mention the TV series. I've never pictured Henry Standing Bear in the way that Lou Diamond Philips portrays him (although I respect him as an actor). There's just not a real match, if I can put it that way.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. If only bloggers could be casting directors.