“Divorce Horse” by Craig Longmire. (Walt Longmire #07.1)

*Read on 3rd September 2018

I have been aware of the Longmire books for several years now and the excellent covers have appealed to me while I browse the shelves of bookstores. But it was only in the early days of August 2018 that I felt compelled to pick up “The Cold Dish”. Since then, I have not been able to get enough of Longmire and Absaroka County, Wyoming. The tales have captivated and enthralled me; I am hooked on the sheriff.

I do not usually read more than two, possibly three at maximum, consecutive books in a series. This is because it leaves me feeling tired of the author’s writing style and “overexposed” to his characters. Too much of one series and I feel jaded, keen to seek new reading pastures before I return. The last time I read three books in a row from one series was around eight years back. Despite that particular author being well respected and a best-selling writer of over twenty plus books in his series, I have never picked up his work since. It wasn’t him, it was me. I overdosed on his work and am now reluctant to go back. I hope to one day but, in the meantime, there are other treasures to be found in bookstores.

Having said that….

I am in the delightful position of only coming to the Longmire collection quite recently, more than a decade after the first story was published. Consequently, I have the privilege of being able to finish one book and then move immediately onto the next in the series. Since my first foray into the world of Longmire, I have moved rapidly through the books and am currently on book eight. No mean feat in a little under a month and I have yet to be bored or disenchanted with Craig Johnson’s Longmire series.

Existing Longmire fans who are up to date with the books do not have the privilege of turning straight to the next title. They have to wait around a year for their next fix of Longmire to hit the shelves. I feel that this is where a short story such as “Divorce Horse” really hits the mark. As an aperitif ahead of a new full-length adventure for our sheriff, it would whet the appetite of any fan.

This a nice addition to the canon (can we apply that term to Mr Johnson’s work? I think we can. And, in fact, should). It gently adds to our appreciation of Longmire as a man and as a father and is an entertaining trip into his world.

Whilst being thoroughly enjoyable and bearing all the traits we have come to love in the stories – the snappy dialogue and wit, along with the excellently realised characters – for me, this brief visit lacked the scope allowed with the longer novels. Of course, as a short story, that is perhaps to be expected. It is, however, a quick and pleasant read and it sits comfortably in the Longmire chronology between “Hell Is Empty” and “As The Crow Flies”. And for fans eagerly anticipating the eighth full-length book in the series, it includes the first chapter of “As The Crow Flies”.

In short, it’s a Longmire story. So, what’s not to like?

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