I know nothing about motorcycles, and I usually wouldn't read a book that deals with all the motorcycle riders heading to Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual motorcycle rally. But, An Obvious Fact is written by Craig Johnson. And, from the moment I read the Acknowledgements about Johnson's father and an Indian Scout motorcycle, I was hooked.
It doesn't hurt that one of my favorite characters in the Longmire mysteries is Henry Standing Bear, Walt Longmire's best friend, sometimes referred to as the Cheyenne Nation. While Walt and Henry are supposedly on vacation, they're actually headed to Hulett, Wyoming, just across the border from Sturgis. Hulett is holding its own motorcycle event, the Jackpine Gypsies Hill Climb, an event Henry won in 1974. He's been competing in it every year since, hoping to win again. That's Henry's motivation for going to Hulett.
Walt is helping an old friend. A young man was the victim of a hit-and-run motorcycle accident. He's now in a coma, and a deputy sheriff thinks it might not have been accident. Walt's always willing to help a friend and fellow lawman. He's also a sucker for a victim who can't help himself. And, this time, Walt is a sucker for a woman, the young man's mother, otherwise known as Lola Wojciechowski. That's "The Lola", the woman Henry Standing Bear named his '59 Thunderbird after.
It isn't long before Walt and Henry are caught up in all kinds of trouble, from hassles and fights with bikers to a challenging rich man to Lola herself. Henry finds wisdom in the three volume The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories by Leslie Klinger. "'There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.'" Walt finds assistance from friends such as Henry, Vic, and various lawmen.
I know I miss some of the literary allusions in Craig Johnson's books. And, the motorcycle language is right over my head. But, this is an intriguing story with captivating characters. Walt is a white knight with a western flare. The women in the book are not the only ones half in love with Henry, the quiet, stoic figure. But, it's always the humor in Johnson's books that draws me in. The conversations between Walt and Henry are always worth reading. This time, I uncovered a hidden gem, an address I recognized in the book. It made me wonder how many hidden inside jokes Johnson includes in his stories. The quiet humor is always worth searching for.
Walt Longmire's search for answers leads to a complex scheme. And, the climatic scene as Walt, Henry and Vic go into battle is wonderful. You'll want to appreciate all the humorous moments, including the Sherlock Holmes moments, in the action-packed, character-driven story, An Obvious Fact.
Craig Johnson's website is www.craigallenjohnson.com
An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson. Viking. 2016. ISBN 9780525426943 (hardcover), 317p.
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book