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An Obvious Fact
Cover of An Obvious Fact
An Obvious Fact
Walt Longmire Mystery Series, Book 13
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In the 12th novel in the New York Times bestselling Longmire series, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire, Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident involving a young motorcyclist near Devils Tower
Craig Johnson's new novel, The Western Star, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.


In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend Henry Standing Bear are called to Hulett, Wyoming—the nearest town to America's first national monument, Devils Tower—to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a
wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry's '59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt's granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won't stop quoting, "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."
In the 12th novel in the New York Times bestselling Longmire series, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire, Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident involving a young motorcyclist near Devils Tower
Craig Johnson's new novel, The Western Star, will be available from Viking in Fall 2017.


In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend Henry Standing Bear are called to Hulett, Wyoming—the nearest town to America's first national monument, Devils Tower—to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a
wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry's '59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt's granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won't stop quoting, "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact."
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    1

    I tried to think how many times I'd kneeled down onasphalt to read the signs, but I knew this was the first time I'd done it in Hulett. Located in the northeast corner of the Wyoming Black Hills, the town is best known for being the home of Devils Tower.

    I looked at the macadam blend, the stones shining in the mix that was still wet from the early morning rain, and sighed. With the advent of antilock brakes, it was hard enough to properly estimate the speed of a vehicle involved in a traffic accident, never mind in the rain.

    "Do you see anything?"

    I nudged my hat farther back on my head and turned to look at the large Indian leaning against the door of Lola, his Baltic blue '59 Thunderbird and my granddaughter's namesake. "How about you come over here and take a look for yourself."

    Henry Standing Bear didn't move and continued to study the large book in his hands. "I am on vacation."

    I was kneeling at the apex of a sweeping curve on stateroute 24 where the road veered off toward Matho Tipila, the Cheyenne name for the first United States National Monument, so declared by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906.

    "There is traffic coming."

    I didn't hear anything, but that didn't mean he wasn't right, so I walked to the edge of the road and watched as a phalanx of motorcyclists came around the corner and descended toward us like a flock of disgruntled magpies.

    They slowed—not for me, I wasn't in uniform—but because of the corpuscle-red Indian motorcycle with the modified KTM extended rear-axle dirt bike that roosted on the flatbed trailer behind the Thunderbird.

    The leather-clad cyclists thumbed their horns and gave a collected thumbs-up to the Cheyenne Nation as he leaned there, looking as if he were negotiating a treaty, with his muscled arms folded over his chest, the first volume of Leslie S. Klinger's New Annotated Sherlock Holmes in one hand.

    "You could have waved back."

    He shook his head. "That would not fit with the tourist's stereotypical vision of the stoic, yet noble, savage."

    I glanced at the book. "Is that mine?"

    "Yes, I took it from your shelves. I did not think you would mind if I borrowed it."

    I glanced back at Devils Tower crowding the horizon. The geologic area around the megalith is not of the same composition as the tower itself, and the belief is that about fifty to sixty million years ago, during the Paleogene period, an igneous intrusion forced its way up through the localsedimentary stone, some saying it was an ancient volcano, some saying it was a laccolith, an uncovered bulge that never made it to the surface. "You know how it got its name, right?"

    "Yours or ours?"

    I ignored him and started back toward the T-bird. "When Colonel Richard Irving Dodge led an expedition back in 1875, his interpreter got it wrong and referred to it as Bad God's Tower, which then became Devils Tower, without the apostrophe as per the geographic standard." I opened Lola's passenger door and eased in.

    The Bear climbed into the driver's seat and studied me.

    I reached back and stroked Dog's head. "You don't care."

    "About what?"

    "The apostrophe."

    He hit the ignition on the big bird. "I care that a delegation of my people attempted to have the name restored to Bear Lodge National Historic Landmark, but your U.S. representative killed it. 'The namechange will harm the tourist trade and bring economic hardship to area communities.' "

    I knew the man he...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 11, 2016
    In Johnson’s thrilling 12th Walt Longmire mystery (after 2015’s Dry Bones), the Wyoming lawman and his longtime friend and sidekick, Henry Standing Bear, look into the circumstances that led 22-year-old Bodaway Torres, now in a coma, to run his motorcycle off the road during the country’s largest annual motorcycle rally, held in Sturgis, S.Dak. Much to Walt’s surprise, Bodaway’s mother turns out to be “the” Lola, namesake of not only Henry’s beloved car but also Walt’s infant granddaughter—and there’s a history between Henry and Lola that’s anything but pleasant. When it becomes clear that Bodaway’s crash was no accident and that ATF has its eye on the victim—was he running guns, or even drugs?—Walt is glad when his undersheriff, the always fiery Victoria Moretti, shows up, fresh off investigating her brother’s murder in Philadelphia. Whether he’s squaring off against biker gangs or teasing out long-simmering feuds involving his closest friends, Walt Longmire is always the man for the job. 15-city author tour. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2016
    The collision of biker gangs, a millionaire, numerous belligerent drunks, and an aging biker chick stirs up one nasty mess.Sheriff Walt Longmire, his 250-pound dog, Dog, and his friend Henry Standing Bear drive Henry's '59 Thunderbird, Lola, to Hulett, Wyoming, towing Henry's motorcycle for another try at a race Henry won years ago. The town of 400 is hosting as many as 50,000 bikers policed only by Chief William Nutter and one deputy. Nutter's proud of his latest toy, a surplus Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle financed by millionaire businessman Bob Nance that Walt has to show him how to start. Next on Nutter's wish list is Walt's and Henry's help finding out what happened to Bodaway Torres, a young biker who lies in critical condition in nearby Rapid City, most likely having been run off the road. A member of a Southwest biker gang with a long string of priors, Torres turns out to be the son of Lola Wojciechowski, the namesake of Henry's car and Walt's granddaughter. Lola wants Henry to find out what happened to Torres, but Henry, convinced she's poison, won't help until Lola hints that Torres is his son. The accident was reported by the wealthy Nance's daughter, who has drug problems and claims not to know Torres, even though his cellphone shows numerous calls from her. After several informative conversations, some leading to fisticuffs, Walt and Henry meet Brady Post, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who's gone undercover with the bikers but won't reveal what he's investigating. Walt's undersheriff and lover, Victoria Moretti, flies in from Philadelphia, where she's been seeking the killer of her brother and Walt's son-in-law. Both her skills and Henry's are sorely needed when all hell breaks loose. Plenty of action, humor, and literary allusions drive the story to a bang-up conclusion. Johnson (Dry Bones, 2015, etc.) never disappoints.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 1, 2016
    In the midst of the world's largest motorcycle rally, a young biker ends up in critical condition after being run off the road, and Sheriff Walt Longmire and good friend Henry Standing Bear are called in to investigate. Was it an accident? As the Bear says, ever quoting Arthur Conan Doyle, "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact." Twelfth in the "New York Times" best-selling series.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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An Obvious Fact
Walt Longmire Mystery Series, Book 13
Craig Johnson
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