Wild Wyo

Detective fiction is a territorial genre by nature because of the way location flavors the action and guides the characters. The nice thing about that is how even the most remote locales can support and enhance a solid plot. Considering its sparse populace, Wyoming’s been lucky in that respect: At least two contemporary authors, C.J. Box and Craig Johnson, are not only residents of the Cowboy State, but set their books within its borders, and both do it very well.

One of the best of those regional Wyoming characters, Walt Longmire, sheriff of the fictional Absaroka County, stars in Johnson’s sixth Longmire novel, Junkyard Dogs. Written as a first-person narrative that reads as if it were laconically voiced by Sam Elliott, Dogs is a worn-in old workboot of a yarn, with twists and turns both classic and unique, delivered without an ounce of sensationalism. Laid-back humor, on the other hand — the kind that doesn’t bat an eyelash over an octogenarian from the house on the hill having an affair with the local junkman — you’ll find everywhere, like buried treasure.

Go prospecting, then: Johnson will read from and sign copies of Dogs tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2526 East Colfax Avenue. For more information, surf to www.tatteredcover.com or call 303-322-7727.
Fri., June 18, 7:30 p.m., 2010

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd