ANOTHER MAN'S MOCCASINS, the fourth book in Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire series, finds Walt looking back at his experiences in Vietnam after a Vietnamese woman is found murdered in Absaroka County. Two murder investigations, forty years apart, play out as the novel oscillates back and forth between 1960s Vietnam and present-day Wyoming.
In present-day Wyoming the Vietnamese woman is found dead along the interstate and Virgil White Buffalo is living in culvert in the same vicinity. Virgil is also in possession of the woman's purse. However, Walt isn't convinced that Virgil killed the woman.
In 1960s Vietnam, Walt is a Marine investigator sent to Tan Son Nhut to investigate a possible drug operation: a soldier had died of a drug overdose on a chopper out of that base. While there, Walt befriends Mai Kim. It is determined that Mai Kim is somehow connected to the dead woman found in Wyoming because of the picture the dead woman is carrying around in her purse. Walt's task in present-day Wyoming is to solve the murder and find the connection.
Craig Johnson's gift of developing characters that readers can connect with only seems to grow stronger with each book he writes. In ANOTHER MAN'S MOCCASINS we see a new dimension in Walt. As in KINDNESS GOES UNPUNISHED we saw a deeper and closer look at Walt's connection to his family, in AMM we are privy to that deeper, closer look at Walt's past, adding another layer to an already dynamic character.
Also adding to Walt's layers is his relationship with Vic. The emotions he battles internally in regards to Vic continue to define the character most of us have grown to love. Walt also deals with internal conflict when it comes to his daughter Cady who is in Wyoming while she rehabs. His insecurities dealing with both women reveal the human-ness in Walt. Those insecurities help make Walt real and allow readers to connect with him, sympathize and empathize. I also think they are what draw folks to ask Johnson for Walt's phone number!
ANOTHER MAN'S MOCCASINS is filled with Johnson's signature humor and heart-wrenching emotion. This book now lays claim to owning my favorite line from a literary work. Walt is standing in an empty ballroom with his daughter, and she asks him to dance even though there is no music playing:
"After a full sweep of the dance floor, I bent down to kiss the U-shaped scar at her hairline and attempted to keep time to the counting of my blessings."
Simply put Craig Johnson has written another exquisite book. His knack for capturing the extraordinary in what might otherwise be considered ordinary is spot on. His characters don't need to have super-hero strength or MENSA IQ levels. Instead Johnson creates the everyday heroes so perfectly that we believe they truly must exist somewhere outside the pages of his books. If you have not picked up one of Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire books, treat yourself to a reading experience unlike no other, just don't expect Walt and gang to remain on the pages of the book once you close the covers. They will be with you for a long time after.
I listened to ANOTHER MAN'S MOCCASINS on audio book as I drove to Pennsylvania for Craig Johnson's book event. It was again read by George Guidall, who has read the previous three books as well. I have compared Guidall's readings of the Walt Longmire series to Mark Hammer's readings of the Dave Robicheaux series. Guidall's voice will forever be Walt's voice in my mind. He's simply perfect for the role. What makes him exceptional, however, is his knack with Johnson's humor. I was in tears when Vic was acting like an Asian prostitute, and that was largely due to Guidall's reading of the scene. Guidall also sets the tempo perfectly to what the scene demands, especially when he's reading for Henry; he's never overly dramatic and he never misses the sarcasm. It is a treat to listen to Guidall read a Walt Longmire novel. So, go ahead, indulge!
ANOTHER MAN'S MOCCASINS was first published by Viking Penguin in hardcover in 2008 (ISBN: 978-0-670-01861-1). It is also now available in trade paperback from Penguin (ISBN: 978-0-143-11552-6).