Spirit of Steamboat

Mysterious Book Report No. 133

by John Dwaine McKenna

Have you ever seen the hit drama series Longmire, on the A&E television network?  If so, maybe you, like me, are a fan of the hard-working Wyoming Sheriff named Walt Longmire.  Whether you’ve seen the show or not, read any of the series of books about him, or not, you’re in for a real treat with this week’s MBR Number 133.  It’s a Walt Longmire novella that won’t take long to read, but it’s one that will stay in your thoughts for a long, long time.

Spirit of Steamboat, (Penguin, $20.00, 146 pages, ISBN 978-0-670-01578-8) by Craig Johnson is, like Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a short piece with a lasting impact.  It proves once again, that it’s not how much one writes but how well that matters.  This small volume contains elements of pathos, irony, heroism, mercy, danger, history and compassion in addition to a walloping good story set on a snowbound Christmas Eve.

And hey!  I’m not going to give up the plot elements and blather on giving away all the details.  I will tell you that the story involves a legendary bucking horse who died in 1915, Charles Dickenses A Christmas Carol, a decommissioned World War II Mitchell B-25 bomber, Walt Longmire, one of the surviving Doolittle Raiders and a suicidal mercy mission.  If you can only manage to read one book this year, Spirit of Steamboat would be a great choice that can be enjoyed by all readers, young adult and up.  This story is so good, it may well become a classic too, still read and enjoyed 100 years from now.

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                                                            –JDM

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