Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wait for Signs by Craig Johnson

This giveaway may be starting a day earlier than I normally start giveaways, but any time I have the chance to share a Craig Johnson book, I'll take it. Craig Johnson's Wait for Signs has just been released in paperback. One lucky winner will have the chance to win a copy from the publisher. Details are below the review. (And, come back tomorrow when I'll announce the usual Friday giveaway.)

I reviewed Wait for Signs when it first came out in hardcover. If you like mysteries, westerns or short stories, you might want to check out the review, and try to win a copy.

Walt Longmire, Craig Johnson's sheriff from Absaroka County in Wyoming, made his first short story appearance in, "Old Indian Trick" about ten years ago. That story went on to win the Cowboys & Indians Tony Hillerman award. Johnson sent it in a Christmas newsletter that year, then learned the following year that subscribers were waiting for the next Walt Longmire Christmas story. What's a writer to do? He went on to write eleven more short stories, now released as Wait for Signs.

There are Christmas settings, a Memorial Day one, a New Year's story, and ordinary stories of not-so-ordinary occurrences in the life of a Wyoming sheriff. As Johnson says in his Acknowledgements, some are mysteries; some of the stories have some mysterious elements; and some have none. In other words, these are typical Craig Johnson, and Walt Longmire, stories. Lou Diamond Phillips, who played Henry Standing Bear in the television show Longmire, points out the difficulty in creating characters, settings and a plot, and making them come together in an absorbing short story. Craig Johnson succeeds beautifully in every one of the stories in this collection.

Those of us who read the books, or watched the television series, will welcome Walt, along with the appearance of familiar characters - Henry Standing Bear, Vic, Dog, Cady, Lucian Connally, And, there are familiar symbols and stories, such as the owls, and Walt's Christmas connection with Dickens' A Christmas Carol. There's the trademark wry humor, along with the kindness. Although Johnson says "Walt is kind, decent, caring", there's that same kindness in Henry. And, there's a darkness in both men as well, a loneliness at times. It makes both of them human, not super-human.

Wait for Signs should be added to so many collections. Consider it as a gift for those who love, and miss, Westerns. It's a perfect companion to Johnson's Spirit of Steamboat. I'm buying a copy for myself to keep with my favorite Christmas books, even though not all the stories are set at Christmastime. It's for all of us who want to know what Walt Longmire is up to in between his larger adventures. And, it's for all of us who love Craig Johnson's beautiful writing, his stories about Walt and his friends. In fact, Craig Johnson's Wait for Signs is just right, for so many reasons.

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories by Craig Johnson. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780143127826 (paperback), 224p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Craig Johnson's website is

If you'd like to enter the contest, email me at Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. Your subject heading should read "Win Wait for Signs." The giveaway will end next Thursday, Nov. 5 at 6 PM CT.


Jeff Meyerson said...

I recommend this highly to anyone who hasn't read it already. Great stuff.

Jeff M.

Lesa said...

Isn't it, Jeff? I thought this collection was terrific.

Nann said...

Craig Johnson spoke at ALA Midwinter in Denver -- 2009?. I've been a fan ever since! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Nann. Terrific speaker, isn't he? He knows how to entertain an audience.

Susan said...

I read my first Craig Johnson book based on your review of "Wait For Signs" last December. I know if you highly recommend a book I will love it. Thank you so much for introducing me to his books; he is a marvelous writer. I eagerly look forward to his new books.

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Susan. What a great compliment! I'm glad you said if I highly recommend it, though. That's a lot to live up to. I'm so glad you enjoy Craig Johnson's books!

Reine said...

This will be great for Steve's Christmas stocking!

Lesa said...

Good luck, Reine. (And, you really should get it for him anyways if you don't win.)