Wait for Signs
by Craig Johnson
Overview (from Goodreads): Ten years ago, Craig Johnson wrote his first short story, the Hillerman Award–winning “Old Indian Trick.” This was one of the earliest appearances of the sheriff who would go on to star in Johnson’s bestselling, award-winning novels and the A&E hit series Longmire. Each Christmas Eve thereafter, fans rejoiced when Johnson sent out a new short story featuring an episode in Walt’s life that doesn’t appear in the novels; over the years, many have asked why they can’t buy the stories in book form.
Wait for Signs collects those beloved stories—and one entirely new story, “Petunia, Bandit Queen of the Bighorns”—for the very first time in a single volume, regular trade hardcover. With glimpses of Walt’s past from the incident in “Ministerial Aide,” when the sheriff is mistaken for a deity, to the hilarious “Messenger,” where the majority of the action takes place in a Port-A-Potty, Wait for Signs is a necessary addition to any Longmire fan’s shelf and a wonderful way to introduce new readers to the fictional world of Absaroka County, Wyoming.
- Overall Synopsis of Longmire (TV show): Walt Longmire is the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County. Widowed only a year, Longmire is a man in psychic repair that buries his pain behind a brave face and dry wit. Struggling since his wife’s death and at the urging of his daughter, Cady, Longmire knows that the time has come to turn his life around. With the help of Vic, a female deputy new to the department, he becomes reinvigorated about his job and committed to running for re-election. When Branch, an ambitious, young deputy decides to run against him for sheriff, Longmire feels betrayed but remains steadfast in his dedication to the community. Longmire often turns to close friend and confidant Henry Standing Bear for support as he sets out to rebuild both his personal and professional life, one step at a time.
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book, via First to Read, in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts: Before reading Wait for Signs, I hadn’t read any of the Walt Longmire books and I’d never seen the show Longmire on A&E. I knew about the show because I’d see previews when I was watching the show that used to come on before it (The Glades). A part of me thought that maybe reading some short stories for the series might pique my interest to read more, so I gave Wait for Signs a shot.
Frankly, I’m still not a huge fan of the series. Overall the short stories were interesting to read. Just like with all short story collections, some of the stories are much better than others (and some are definitely stinkers). During some of the stories and character descriptions I found myself wondering if certain things that were being said might be considered racist. I’ll admit that my knowledge of Native Americans and all of the different tribes is limited at best. So I honestly don’t know if the descriptors were okay; I’m assuming they are since it’s on TV and there aren’t constant reports about the show being offensive.
What do I say about the characters? Walt is an okay guy. He was kind of boring and not very relatable for me in the first few stories. He basically starts out as a drunk, so that’s not the easiest thing in the world to really relate to. He gets better and I even found myself rooting for him in later stories. He became more interesting once the stories had him engaging with other people. I didn’t like his daughter, Cady, at all. She was irritating in the few short stories that she appeared in. Then there was Walt’s dog. I love dogs, so he was immediately my favorite. My only question is why would you name/call your dog, Dog? That doesn’t show much creativity and it’s a stupid name.
In the end, Wait for Signs piqued my interest enough that I watched the pilot episode of Longmire on Netflix (it’s not a show I’d normally watch, but I’ll probably watch at least a few more episodes). I haven’t bought any books from the Walt Longmire series yet, but I imagine it’s inevitable (I seem to have zero self-control with books). If you’re already a fan of the Walt Longmire books, I would highly recommend Wait for Signs. If you’re a fan of the show, Longmire, you might want to consider checking out the books and Wait for Signs is a pretty good place to start. Now, if you’re like me and you’d never watched or read anything related to Longmire then I would give Wait for Signs a try if the subject is of any interest to you.
3 out of 5 Bookmarks = I liked it and will probably delve further into both the book series and the TV show.