Any Other Name (Walt Longmire Series #10)

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Overview


Sheriff Walt Longmire is sinking into a high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Connally, asks him to take on a mercy case outside his jurisdiction. Detective Gerald Holman of neighboring Campbell County is dead, and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend, a by-the-book lawman with a wife and daughter, to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of Walt’s first grandchild in Philadelphia, he enlists the help of undersheriff Vic Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, and Gillette ...
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Overview


Sheriff Walt Longmire is sinking into a high-plains winter discontent when his former boss, Lucian Connally, asks him to take on a mercy case outside his jurisdiction. Detective Gerald Holman of neighboring Campbell County is dead, and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend, a by-the-book lawman with a wife and daughter, to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of Walt’s first grandchild in Philadelphia, he enlists the help of undersheriff Vic Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, and Gillette policeman Corbin Dougherty and, looking for answers, reopens Holman’s last case.

Before his mysterious death, Detective Holman was elbow-deep in a cold case involving three local women who’d gone missing with nothing to connect the disappearances—or so it seemed. The detective’s family and the Campbell County sheriff’s office beg Walt to drop the case. An open-and-shut suicide they say. But there’s a blood trail too hot to ignore, and it’s leading Walt in circles: from a casino in Deadwood, to a mysterious lodge in the snowy Black Hills of South Dakota, to a band of international hit men, to a shady strip club, and back again to the Campbell County sheriff’s office. Digging deeper, Walt will uncover a secret so dark it threatens to claim other lives before the sheriff can serve justice—Wyoming style.
 
A thrilling story of deception and betrayal, packed with twists and turns and featuring the unforgettable characters of the New York Times bestselling Longmire series, Any Other Name is Craig Johnson’s best yet.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

It begins as a request for a favor. The former boss of Walt Longmire wants the Wyoming sheriff to investigate the suicide of a detective in an adjoining country. He agrees and his investigation soon uncovers evidence that the deceased lawman had been systemically suppressing evidence about three women who had disappeared. What had made this former straight-shooter change his behavior? Characteristically, Longmire doesn't stop until he finds the answers. (P.S. A&E's popular Longmire series has been renewed for a third season.)

Publishers Weekly - Audio
06/30/2014
This action-packed new Walt Longmire adventure has the heroic high-plains sheriff investigating a fellow lawman’s suicide. This requires looking into the late detective’s last case, a cold one involving three county women who went missing some time ago. The trail leads him to Deadwood and the Black Hills of South Dakota. There’s a shoot-out in a blinding snowfall that amidst a large herd of stampeding buffalo, an episode in which two trains race to avoid a head-on collision, and some breathlessly suspenseful moments with Longmire about to be crushed by thousands of pounds of coal. Guidall’s at his avuncular best as Longmire, the novel’s wryly self-deprecating narrator. He also provides an appropriately gravelly croak for the sheriff’s hard-drinking retired boss, Lucian Connally, a deep native American accent for crony Henry Standing Bear, and appropriate assorted masculine voices for the male-heavy cast. He finds a little room in his larynx to squeak out a few respectable female voices, too, leading with undersheriff Vic Moretti. It’s a fast, occasionally funny, non-stop audio thrill ride. A Viking hardcover. (May)
Publishers Weekly
03/24/2014
A not-quite-cold case preoccupies Walt Longmire in bestseller Johnson’s top-notch 11th mystery featuring the Wyoming sheriff (after 2013’s novella Spirit of Steamboat). Walt reluctantly agrees to help his old boss and mentor, Lucian Connally, investigate the suicide of police detective Gerald Holman in neighboring Campbell County, even though Walt’s official powers stop at the Absaroka County line. Holman apparently shot himself because he had seen too much darkness in his job, but the last cases on Holman’s desk, involving three very different missing women, get Walt thinking. While it looks as if the women just up and left their lives, Walt’s suspicion that the disappearances are connected proves correct. To his peril, he discovers that some people are prepared to go to any lengths to keep the big picture hidden. Meanwhile, Walt awaits the birth of his first grandchild in Philadelphia. Johnson’s hero only gets better—both at solving cases and at hooking readers—with age. 15-city author tour. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (May)
Library Journal
★ 04/01/2014
Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire and Lucian Connally, his former boss, travel to a neighboring county to look into the suicide of Det. Gerald Holman. The detective was a longtime friend of Connally, and his death raised many questions; Walt is the best person to find the solutions. Time becomes an issue for Walt, not only in tracing the clues of Holman's last case involving missing women, but also in trying to get to Philadelphia in time for the birth of his first grandchild. In this 11th series installment (after Spirit of Steamboat), Longmire displays his usual down-to-earth charm and dogged determination asking questions of the local sheriff, his sister who owns the local strip club, a lonely clerk whose post office is facing eminent closure, and Holman's wife and daughter, who seem to know more than they are telling. Walt grasps the connection between the vanished women and Holman's death, and not even a herd of bison in Custer State Park can stop him. VERDICT Another well-crafted story from Johnson, filled with endearing characters and nonstop action that will appeal to series fans and readers of other Western mystery authors such as C. J. Box. [See Prepub Alert, 1/6/14; 15-city author tour.]—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly with Illinois Eastern Community Colls., Mt. Carmel
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-16
A favor for an old friend puts Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire in a tough spot. Longmire is due to fly to Philadelphia for the birth of his daughter Cady's first child. But when his friend and former boss Lucian Connally asks for help, he can't say no. Detective Gerald Holman has committed suicide in a neighboring county whose sheriff is willing to have Longmire investigate at the behest of the widow, who refuses to believe her straight-arrow husband could do such a thing. Since his retirement, Holman had been working on cold cases—some of which aren't so cold, like the disappearance of a bright young woman who was working as an exotic dancer at Dirty Shirley's to replenish her college fund. Looking more closely into the case, Longmire finds that several other women have also gone missing from the area. Though they seem to have nothing in common, he has to consider a possible serial killer. Tracking another of the missing women to Deadwood, S.D., almost gets Longmire and his friend Henry, aka the Cheyenne Nation, killed. That's only Longmire's first brush with death as he looks for answers that someone is willing to kill to keep hidden. Once more, you can count on Longmire (A Serpent's Tooth, 2013, etc.) for action both physical and cerebral, a bit of humor and romance, and a mighty good mystery.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781490623979
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Series: Walt Longmire Series , #10
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 7 CDs, 8 hrs 30 min
  • Sales rank: 94,237

Meet the Author

Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson is the author of eight previous novels in the Walt Longmire series. He has a background in law enforcement and education. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

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Read an Excerpt


***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***
 
Copyright © 2014 by Craig Johnson

1

Joseph Conrad said that if you wanted to know the age of the earth, look upon the sea in a storm; if you want to know the age of the Powder River country just be on the wrong side of a coal train. A guy who worked for the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe once told me that the trains in northern Wyoming are about a hundred and forty cars and a mile and a half long, but it sure seems longer than that when you’re waiting on one. .

Lucian Connally, my old boss and the retired sheriff of Absaroka County, reached into his pocket and pulled out his beaded tobacco pouch the Cheyenne elders had given him along with the name Nedon Nes Stigo—He Who Sheds His Leg. “Damn, this is a long one.” He also pulled his briarwood pipe from the inside coat pocket of his light jacket, much too light for the weather, and fingered a small packet of wooden matches along with it. “We used to get calls from the railroad detectives, what a useless bunch, wanting us to come down and identify the hobos that climbed in the hoppers back in Chicago and Milwaukee, and with the slick sides on the railcar walls, they couldn’t get out. . . .” He stuffed a small amount of the tobacco into the bowl of his pipe. “They’d pull those cars into the mines and dump tons of coal onto ’em—imagine their surprise.”

“Homeless.”

He turned to look at me. “What?”

“Homeless; they don’t call them hobos anymore.”

He nodded his head and looked back at the train. “Flat as a damn pancake is what I called ’em.”

I watched the cars roll and felt the ground shake. The single largest source of coal in the United States, the Powder River Basin contains one of the largest deposits in the world and has made Wyoming the top coal-producing state since the late eighties.

He pulled a match from the pack and made ready to strike. “Pulverized pepper steak; wasn’t a lot to identify, I can tell ya that much.”

The major cities of the Wyoming portion of the basin are Gillette and Sheridan; in Montana, Miles City. The rest of the twenty-four thousand square miles is what they call sparsely populated and I called Durant and home.

It was a Saturday.

“Flat as a flitter.”

I was tired.

“Identify my ass.”

And I was about to lose my patience.

“Looked like hamburger.”

I scrubbed a hand across my face.. “Old man, you’re not going to light that pipe in my truck.”

He looked over at me for a moment, the silence between us carrying the electric charge of decades, grunted, and then pulled the door handle and climbed out of the Bullet. The clanging of the warning bells amplified through the open door before he slammed it behind him and hobbled on his one real and one fake leg to the corner of my grill guard, at which point he recommenced lighting his pipe with a great deal of dramatic flourish.

It was December on the high plains, but you’d never know it to look at him, cupping his knotted hands together without a shiver or gloves for that matter and ducking his Stetson Open Road model hat down against the wind. Amplified by the flashing red lights of the railroad-crossing barrier, the brief flicker of orange light glowed, reinforcing the impression that he was the devil and that the deal I had struck with him was venal and binding.

He raised his head, the consistent wind that battled the onward rushing of the train pulling at the brim of his hat like a miniature tornado, his eyes almost squeezed shut with nothing showing but the stained, walnut-colored irises glinting black in the half light.

I looked down at the letter lying on the center console; the postmark was from a week ago, and the return address was Gillette, in the Iron Horse Subdivision, which was located on the other side of the rumbling coal cars. Gillette was in Campbell County, technically out of my jurisdiction as the Absaroka County Sheriff.

My daughter was having a baby in a matter of days, and I was supposed to be visiting her in Philadelphia; instead, I was here, helping Lucian resolve his debt to a dead man.

A barely audible whine keened from the backseat, and I reached around and ruffled the fur behind Dog’s ears. The combination St. Bernard/German shepherd/dire wolf glanced at Lucian. The brim of my mentor’s hat was pressed against the crown of his forehead, making it seem like he was galloping at high speed like some soul-damned ghost rider in the sky.

I thought about how easy it would be to just throw the big three-quarter-ton into reverse and back out, turn around and take Route 14/16 back up to the Gillette airport to jump on a plane, but they likely wouldn’t allow Dog, so that was out.

Wondering what it was I was doing here, other than playing the role of chauffeur, I leaned back into my leather seat and felt the pressure of my Colt 1911. “Maybe they’ll have this talk, and then we’ll turn around and go home.”

I looked at Dog again, but he didn’t seem convinced.

Turning back and watching the old sheriff stare at the train, I sighed. “Yep, me neither.”

Pulling the collar of my sheepskin coat a little tighter and cranking my hat down so that it didn’t follow the train to Oregon, I pulled the handle on my door and slid my boots to the gravel surface. I crunched around to the front of the Bullet to lean on the grill guard with him. I spoke loudly, in the field voice my father had never let me use in the house, just to be heard above the endless procession of open cars and the bells that hammered their warning. “They still do.”

He studied me with a clinched eyeball and said nothing, puffing on his pipe like he was pulling the mile of coal himself.

“Find bodies in the hopper cars.”

The ass end of the train went by, another disappointment in that it was not a caboose but rather another set of locomotives helping to push from the rear, and I got that familiar feeling I always did whenever a train passed; that I should be on it, but it was going the wrong way.

Suddenly the bony arms of the crossing gates rose and the incessant clanging stopped. We listened to the wind for a while, and then the old man beat his pipe empty on the hard surface of the grill guard, unintentionally repeating the coda of the claxons. “Hard times.”

With this singular pronouncement he turned and climbed back in, leaving me watching the skies peeled back in folds of gray, darker and darker to the horizon.

He honked the horn behind me.

Flakes were streaking in the wind like bad reception as we pulled up to the house, an unassuming one; one that you’d drive right by, thinking that there must be happy people inside—at least that’s the way I liked to think.

We both sat there, dreading what was coming.

He cleared his throat and started to say something.

“What?”

Gazing out the side window at a deflated Santa Claus that looked as if it might’ve over imbibed in holiday festivities, he grumbled, “Boom or bust.”

“What?”

“Oil, natural gas, and coal; they used to have bumper stickers over here that read Campbell County— Give Us One More Boom and We Won’t Screw It Up.” He continued to study the Santa, looking even more like it might’ve arrived in the bottom of a train car. “Used to see a woman here back in the day; used to drive over here on Sundays. She lived alone in this big old house and had money—used to like spending it on me. Never saw her out on the town, never mentioned other men, never bothered me calling or anything like that and was always glad to see me. Whenever we got together we’d end up in motels over in Rapid or up in Billings — we’d mix drinks in this big champagne-gold ’62 Cadillac she had . . .”

“What ever happened to her?”

He stayed like that for a moment, not moving, and then nodded once. “Hell if I know.”

Lucian got out of the truck, and I trudged along after him through the snow that had just started blowing to South Dakota; I made a detour into the yard and reattached the small air compressor to the hose that led to Santa’s boot heel. The jolly old elf rippled on the ground as if trying to crawl away but then slowly grew and stood with an arm raised, a fine patina of coal dust covering his jaunty red suit.

I walked onto the porch where Lucian had rung the bell.

“That your civic duty for the day?”

“Evidently not. Here I am with you when I should be in Philadelphia with Cady.”

Nothing happened so he turned the knob and walked in.

“What are you doing?”

He looked at me, still standing on the front porch in the wind and scattered snow. He didn’t say anything but limped off into the house; I had the choice of following him or standing out there freezing my butt off.

I entered, careful to wipe my feet before stepping onto the unusually wide plastic runners that lay on the white carpeting, and, leaning to the side, I saw Lucian round a corner past a room divider to go into the kitchen.

I unbuttoned my coat and stuffed my gloves in my pockets and followed, hoping that if somebody got shot it would be him and not me—he was gristly and could take it.

When I got to the kitchen no one was there, only an electric wheelchair parked beside a door open at the far end of the room that led to a basement with one of those fancy stairway elevators that you see in the octogenarian catalogs I’ve been receiving far too often lately.

I reached over and touched the joystick on the spacey-looking machine and it jumped forward, crashing into my leg. “Ouch.”

I gently pushed the stick back so that the contraption parked itself in the exact same spot.

Glancing around the kitchen, I was struck by how clean and orderly and white it was—like a museum or somebody’s heaven.

There was a humming sound from the basement and what sounded like typing, and peering down the steps, I could see that lights were on down there, flickering blue ones as if from a couple of televisions.

Easing myself around the track for the chair elevator, I started down the steps—Lucian was sitting on an overstuffed leather sofa and was leafing through a magazine. At the bottom of the stairs, I got a better view of the dimly lit room, which was dominated by three huge flat-screen televisions surrounding a counter with two computer monitors; an older, platinum-haired woman, seated in another wheelchair, raised her hand and waved at me. I took off my hat and waved back.

She smiled and shrugged, her head encased in a massive set of headphones, her eyes redirected to one of the screens to what I could now see was an end of the season football game— Oakland and San Diego.

Stepping around the counter in front of Lucian, I watched as she casually tapped the elongated keys of the stenotype-like machines at her fingertips, belying the speed at which the words were magically appearing up on the closed-captioned portions of the screen.

After a while, with no other recourse, I sat on the sofa with Lucian and waited. There was another door, which must’ve led to another room, but little else. “She does closed captioning for the NFL?”

He flipped another page in the Field & Stream magazine and glanced up at Phyllis Holman, still tapping away like Morse code. “Football, baseball, hockey . . . you name it, she does it.” His head dropped back to the tips on wild turkey hunting. “Knows more about sports than any man I know.”

“Hi.” She had pulled one of the ear cups back and was looking at me. “Commercial break.”

“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Holman.” I glanced around at all the technology. “Quite a setup you’ve got here.”

She shrugged. “It keeps me occupied.”

I looked at one of the TVs, my mind playing pinball in an attempt to find something to say as the talking heads came back on the screen. “Who’s your favorite announcer?”

She quickly pulled the headphone back over her ear, her attention returning to the keyboards. “Anyone who talks slowly and distinctly.”

I watched her work for a while and then with my interest not being piqued by either of the teams or by any of the Field & Stream turkey tips, I sidled into the corner of the sofa and pulled my hat over my face.

It was not a new dream, the one that overtook me; rather a continuation of an experience that I’d had back in the spring. There was snow, there was always snow in my dreams or visions, as my good buddy Henry Standing Bear called them. In this one I was post-holing my way in thigh-deep snow, old and laden— both me and the snow. The collar was up on my coat, and my hat was hard on my head, defending against the wind. The visibility was horrible, and I could only see about ten feet in front of me. I was following something, something that didn’t want to be followed. There were other shapes, darker ones that hurtled around me, but the creature continued on.

The tracks were difficult to see in the whiteout, but the others continued to dodge their way around me and I could hear their breathing, heavy and dangerous. I reached down to clutch the side of my hip where my sidearm should have been resting under my coat, but there was nothing there—and that was when I saw that the thing had turned and what I was following had horns.

“. . . You know Gerald, Lucian. He never would’ve done something like this; it just wasn’t like him.”

I didn’t move, just stayed as I was—a stakeout under a hat.

Lucian’s voice sounded tired, and I started to weaken, thinking of all the conversations like this that he’d had to endure. “He was a good man, Phyllis, but I’m not so sure there’s anything anybody can do about this. I spoke with Sandy Sandburg and he said—”

“Don’t mention that man’s name in this house.”

There was a silence. “Nonetheless, he said that—”

“They wrapped it up too quickly, Lucian.”

He made a guttural noise in his throat. “Goddamn it, Phyllis, it was the investigators down in Cheyenne that did the autopsy at DCI. You know as well as I do that when a man like Gerald Holman dies they have to do a complete—”

“They didn’t like him; they didn’t like him, and they’re trying to cover something up, I can tell by the way they look at me. I was a court reporter remember, and I developed an ability to read people; I can tell when people are lying, believe me, I’ve heard enough of it.” Another long pause. “You know as well as I do that these things happen for two reasons: either it’s trouble at home or trouble on the job. Now I know there wasn’t any trouble at home, so—”

“How’s your daughter, how’s Izzy?”

There was a pause, and then she answered. “Connie’s fine.” I could feel the two of them staring at each other. “We haven’t had to use the room, if that’s what you’re asking.”

“Do you know what it was he was working on?”

“They won’t tell me. What did they tell you?”

“They said he was carrying a full caseload, including a missing persons—”

“The whore, doesn’t it figure that that’s the case they would focus on.”

The old sheriff adjusted himself on the sofa in order to sit forward. “Were there other things you know about?”

“Things that would make a lot of very important people in this town more than a little nervous. Yes.”

Lucian sighed. “Things like what?”

“I’m not sure I want to tell you about them if you’re not going to help me.” Another longer pause. “He was a good man, Lucian. He helped you when nobody else would, and now he’s dead; I think you owe him something more than a phone call.”

I could feel him nodding. “Not as young as I used to be, Phyllis.”

“I’m assuming that’s why you brought him.”

Even with my hat over my face, I could feel their eyes shift to me.

“It is.”

“He as good as they say?”

I waited and listened. “When I hired him I told him two things: no man has any sense till age thirty-five and damn few afterwards . . .”

“Amen to that, and the other?”

“Never go after a man to arrest him unless you are certain you are legally right, but then arrest him or die.” I felt him shift and was sure he was looking straight at me now. “In all the time I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him quit, which is where most of ’em ain’t up to snuff—they give out. If he’s got any give in him, ain’t nobody found it yet.”

“He’s big.”

“That he is, but that ain’t the half of it.” He got up from the sofa, and I could hear him limp over to her. “Is that the room over there, the one where you kept Connie?” She didn’t say any- thing, so he continued. “I want to warn you that if you put Walter on this you’re going to find out what it’s all about, one way or the other.” Another pause, and I could see the face that was peering down at her, a visage to which I was accustomed. “You’re sure you want that? Because he’s like a gun; once you point him and pull the trigger, it’s too late to change your mind.”

“Oh jeez, if it isn’t dangerous and dangerouser.” Sandy Sandburg, the sheriff of Campbell County, pulled out a chair, sat at our table, and propped up a large manila folder onto the windowsill beside him, careful to pick a spot where the condensation wouldn’t do any damage.

It was cold in the little Mexican restaurant in Gillette’s industrial section beside the interstate highway; late on a Sunday night the patrons were few and far between—as a matter of fact, we were the only ones around. A skinny waitress came from behind the counter and sat a cup of coffee in front of Sandy. “¿Cómo está?”

“Hola, guapa. ¿Qué tal?”

“Cansado.”

Sandburg reached out and gripped one of her thin arms and slid the sleeve of her sweater up to reveal a speckling of old scabs. “¿Se mantiene limpia?”

She shrugged, pulled her arm away, and yanked a pad and pencil from her apron. “¿Qué otra opción tengo?”

His eyes diverted to us as he let the girl go. “As you might expect, the burritos are pretty damn good.” He glanced back at the waitress and held up three fingers. “Tres, por favor. Beef with the green stuff.” He watched her go and then turned back to the two of us. “Gentlemen, there’s no mystery.”

Lucian cocked his hat back on his head, looking like Will Rogers ready to make a run on a casino. “Phyllis Holman, by-God, seems to think otherwise.”

“The bereaved widow . . . Well, she would.”

I volunteered. “She doesn’t seem to like you.”

Lucian glanced at me, now sure I had been awake on the sofa.

“Yeah, I get that, too.” Sandy shrugged. “Hell, I don’t know what I did to her but offer her retired husband a job on the Cold Case Task Force.”

“Maybe that was it.” I eased back in my chair as far as I could without fear of breaking it. “How many on the Cold Case Task Force anyway?”

“One.” Sandy grinned with his matinee idol smile, the one that got other people in trouble, his teeth white against the tan he acquired at Coco View Resort in Honduras every Christmas,. “Started it up just so Gerald would have something to do.” The smile faded. “Then this happens; I gotta tell you of all the fellas I would’ve thought would go out this way, Gerry would’ve been the last.”

I sipped my already cold coffee. “Why?”

Sandy clicked his eyes to mine. “Ever meet him?” “No.”

“He was so by-the-book that he might as well have published the damn thing.” He looked at Lucian. “Am I right, or am I right?”

“Gerald Holman never broke a rule by force of bending one, that’s for damn sure.” He glanced at the folder next to Sandy’s elbow. “That the report?”

“It is. We’ve got a DCI field office up here with two cashiers and a bag boy.” The colorful euphemisms the sheriff used were a result of the Division of Criminal Investigation’s headquarters in Cheyenne being an old grocery store. “But they drove the Death Mobile up here anyway and did a full autopsy.”

I sat my mug down with more of a thunk than I’d really wanted; they both looked at me.

Sandy reached over and opened the folder and read “On December 13th, one Gerald Holman placed the barrel of his issued sidearm, a .357 revolver, in his mouth and pulled the trigger. It was established by agents of the Division of Criminal Investigation that the individual, locked in the room from the inside, had opportunity and the condition for the decedent to have self-inflicted his injury. Further investigation revealed that no one else had been in the room, verified by eyewitnesses, position of the decedent’s body in relation to the unlikely position the assailant would have to have assumed, blood spatter, and the gun-powder residue on the decedent’s hand. A gun-cleaning kit was found on the bed beside the decedent, but it was determined that the firing of the weapon was not accidental.”

“Less he was licking the damn thing clean.”

I ignored Lucian’s remark. “Demonstrations of intent?”

Sandy continued reading. “He used a pillow to muffle the noise.”

I looked out the window at the reflection of three men at- tempting to understand why one of their own had done what he had done. “Personal effects?”

“Untouched.”

“Note?”

“Nope.” He studied me. “There’s nothing here, Walt.”

“Can I have the report?”

He folded it up and started to hand it to me but then stopped as my fingers touched it. “Promise to bring it back?”

I didn’t move. “Make copies if you want.”

He shoved it at me. “I trust you.”

I began looking at the photos and reading the summary report from the DCI investigators. “Who is Rankaj Patel?”

“Oh, the Pakistani guy that owns the Wrangler Motel where the incident took place, about a mile east of here . . .”

“Indian.”

Sandy studied me. “What?”

“Indian; the man’s Indian.”

I watched him think about it. “No, he ain’t Indian—”

Lucian interrupted. “Dot, not feather.”

“Huh?”

I continued leafing through the folder—the photos were, as usual, gruesome. “About a third of all motel owners in the U.S. are called Patel—it’s a surname that indicates that they’re members of a Gujarati Hindu subcaste.” I looked up at his confused face and figured I might as well educate him on the subject. “The Indian caste structure has four principal divisions and a myriad of subcastes, of which Patel is one; Vaishyas, or traders, were at one time employed to calculate the tithes that were owed to medieval kings by farmers in Gujarat, an Indian province on the Arabian Sea.”

Sandy shook his head and looked at Lucian. “Was he like this when you hired him?”

He nodded. “Better than a bookmobile.”

I put the folder behind me, uninterested in looking at it any more before I ate. “What was he working on?”

“Lots of things—nothing earth-shaking.”

“Can I see those files?”

“Richard Harvey says he’d be glad to meet with you tomorrow morning.”

I nodded. “That his replacement?”

Sandy smiled again, and I knew the real trouble had begun. “Of sorts.”

The Wrangler Motel sat on the eastern side of Gillette like it was run out of town. With a lone strip of eight ground-floor and nine second-floor units, it was anchored to the high plains by a decrepit café/bar, the Aces & Eights, on one end and an equally run-down office on the other.

I was standing in said office arguing with Rankaj Patel about a twenty-dollar pet fee for Dog; he was a tiny man and, as I’d suspected, of Indian descent. I looked down at the worn, stained carpet, the collapsed chairs, and the moth-stained art on the walls. “You’re kidding.”

He responded in a singsong lilt. “It is corporate policy, sir.”

“What corporation?”

He spread his hands in a gesture of largesse. “The Wrangler Motel Corporation, sir.”

“Of which you are the chairman of the board and CEO?” I pulled out my wallet and adjusted my thinking to the fact that I was paying half as much for Dog as I was for Lucian and me. “I’ll also need the key to room twelve.”

He half-turned with the key to room five, the one he had selected for us, and froze. “I’m afraid that room is not available, sir.”

I pulled my new badge wallet from the back pocket of my jeans.

“There was an accident.”

“I know . . .” The stiffness of the leather caused the thing to fall from my fingers and land on the counter between us like a shot quail, ruining what I had hoped to be a dramatic effect. I reached down and spread it open so that he could see the six-point star. “I’m the guy who’s supposed to find out why there was an accident.”

He studied the badge, taking in the fact that the county was adjacent. “I told the investigators everything I know.”

“I’m sure you did, but if you think of anything else I’d appreciate it if you would tell me.”

He nodded. “How long will you be staying?”

I picked up the key to both rooms. “As long as it takes.”

I ignored the signs, backed in, and parked in front of room five. Dog jumped out and immediately began sniffing the surroundings as I opened the tailgate and handed Lucian his overnight bag and the key. “How well did you know Holman?”

“Not that well; we worked a few cases together.”

“Children?”

He nodded. “A daughter; she’s on the school board here.”

“Think she’d be worth talking to?”

“Hell, I don’t know. I never met her.”

“You’re a liar; I heard you ask Phyllis about her—and what’s the story on the room in the basement?”

He studied me. “Her name is Connie but Gerald used to call her Izzy for Isadora Duncan, the one that got killed in that Bugatti when her scarf got caught in the spokes of the wheels back in ’27?”

“Actually, it was an Amilcar, but her chauffeur’s name was Falchetto and she used to call him Bugatti.”

He shook his head at me. “Anyway, she was one of those ballet dancers, they say a really good one, but she got caught up in drugs trying to keep her weight down and . . . Anyway, Phyllis and Gerald kept her in that basement bedroom and got her clean. Model citizen, these days.”

I turned to watch my pet Kodiak snuffle the tires of a Jeep Cherokee. “Dog.” He sniffed a few more times just to show his independence and then joined the two of us at the door. “Lucian, you take him and get settled in.”

The old sheriff looked up at me as I stuffed the folder Sandy had given me under an arm. “Where the hell are you going?”

“Upstairs, to twelve.”

“Plenty of time for that tomorrow.”

“I still have the greatest of hope that I can salvage my trip to Philadelphia.”

He stared at me for a moment, said nothing, and then slipped the key in the loose lock. Followed by Dog, who never met an open door he didn’t consider an invitation, Lucian flipped on the light and shut the door behind them; I stood there listening to the eighteen-wheelers Jake-braking on the interstate. As I turned to go, I saw the curtain in the window of number 6 slowly pull closed. I thought about knocking on the door but instead walked over and looked at the only other vehicle parked in the lot, the one that Dog had irrigated, with Idaho plates, 6B 22119. Boise County, city of Boise; there was also a Boise State snorting bronc sticker in the rear window along with the black-and-white sticker of the lauburu, otherwise known as the Basque cross.

Even with the Basque population of my county, an odd vehicle to be parked in this lot.

“If you’re here to run me off, it’s not going to work.”

I turned and looked at the tall young woman with a thick mane of dark hair pulled up in a ponytail, backlit by the light from room 6. “Excuse me?”

She hugged herself, and I figured it was the cold but maybe just a habit. “I’m not intimidated by any of you.”

I glanced around to indicate to her that I was alone. “Okay.”

“I saw you . . . looking at my car.”

“It’s a nice car.”

“Well, it’s not going anywhere.”

I repeated myself. “Okay.” Feeling I should make some kind of effort at western hospitality, I stepped forward and raised a hand to shake hers. “Walt Longmire, I’m the sheriff of Absaroka County.”

She stared at my hand, her arms still wrapped around her chest, one set of fingers clutching the doorknob in an attempt to not let too much of the cold enter the room. “This is Campbell County.”

I pushed my hat back on my head with my now free hand. “Yes, it is—and you are?”

She sighed and said her name mechanically. “Lorea Urrecha.”

“Basque?”

Her chin came out a little farther and her head turned, the high brows and cheekbones highlighted in the small amount of illumination—classically beautiful but with character. “Yes.”

My attention was drawn to a Cadillac Escalade EXT that had entered the parking lot to travel down the rows of rooms, the vehicle slowing when it got in front of us. The windows were fogged, but from the dash lights I could see that it was a woman behind the wheel. She slowed almost to a stop but then looked closer at my truck—the stars and the bars—and quickly pulled away.

I got a glance at the plates as she rounded the corner of the motel at the Aces & Eights bar and café, 17—Campbell County. Turning back to the young woman, I stuffed my hand in my pocket. “Been in the motel long?”

She didn’t say anything at first but then spit the words. “Is this an interview or an interrogation?”

“Actually, it was just a question.”

She turned her head away from me, and I lost her profile.

I glanced back at the closed office and the now lit No Vacancy neon light that Rankaj Patel must’ve turned on just before turning in. “I can always ask the motel manager, if you’d like.”

“I’d like.” She stepped back, her lips compressed, and shut the door in my face.

I stood there looking at the closed door and then raised my fist. “Go Broncs.”

You crafty devil, you certainly played her like a Stradivari.

I turned and started up the metal steps by the office, stopped at the landing, and looked at the numbers on the rooms until I got to the one with the yellow plastic tape that read Police Line Do Not Cross. Thoughtfully, the Gillette PD and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office had simply put the barrier on the door so that you could open it without having to retape.

Convenient.

I slipped the key in and turned the knob, stepped inside and closed the door behind me as I turned on the light. The heat in the room was turned off, and it was cold, cold enough to still see my breath.

Like a meat locker.

With more than thirty thousand suicides a year, the act is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. The rates for those above sixty-five years of age are much higher than the average, and Holman was sixty-seven. Fifty-six percent of male suicides are a result of firearms, whereas with females the predominant choice of departure is an overdose.

Most suicides occur as a result of depression, but there are some where the motives are never fully ascertained. This line of thought is of little comfort to the survivors, but sometimes helpful to the investigating officer, who can become so immersed in the case that he or she is tempted to slash his or her own wrists.

I flipped on the light in the bathroom and took in the chipped, stained porcelain, the worn tile, and the mold on the shower curtain. The thin towels were still folded hanging on the rod, and the little cakes of soap were still wrapped in paper and sitting beside the unused sample bottle of shampoo/conditioner. Even the toilet paper still had its folded and pointed edge—my compliments to housekeeping.

I turned off that light and moved into the main room, past Gerald Holman’s suit jacket and three-quarter-length parka, both carefully draped on hangers below the chrome shelf where his bone-colored cattleman’s hat still sat, brim up.

Nonetheless, his luck had run out—or he had run it off.

There were more tape lines set up that farmed off the area around the bed where Gerald actually shot himself, which was fine by me because I saw no reason to get any closer to the gore.

The majority of the blood was centered not on the bed but on the floor where he slid after he had shot himself. Evidently his upper body was thrown back by the impact but then bounced off the bed, which forced his lower body and legs forward where he slipped onto the floor and bled out. Usually, when an individual shoots himself in the head, the weapon falls from his hand onto his lap, but from the photographs I knew that Officer Holman was well trained and the Colt Python had still been clutched in his constricted hand, a product of cadaveric spasm. This is a telltale clue that the victim died with the weapon in hand; no one could place the revolver there and recreate the same effect.

In the movies the individual usually slips the barrel of the gun in his mouth, pulls the trigger, and a brief spray of blood fans from the back of his head onto a wall, usually white for cinematic effect, then the victim’s eyes roll back in his head and he falls sideways, leaving a relatively undamaged face with which the mortician can work.

I’ve seen the aftermath of more than my share of suicides, and I’ve never seen one that ended like that; instead, according to the armament, the effects are devastating. The photographs in the folder under my arm told the tale of the Remington 158-grain semi-wadcutter that had traveled through the roof of the investigator’s mouth at over twelve hundred feet per second, taking off the top of his head and the majority of his face from the bridge of his nose up.

I didn’t need to see the soot and powder trace results or the evidence of blowback material on the Colt to know who and what had done the deed—there was only one question that continued to puzzle me.

Why twice.

Because Gerald Holman was shot in the head two times.

The only scenario is that two weeks ago today, he had raised the big revolver up in his left hand and shot himself in the left cheek, then he had placed the barrel of the .357 in his mouth and finished the job.

He had started his career in law enforcement with the Wyoming Highway Patrol in the free-wheeling fifties, then had accepted a job as a deputy in the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office in the sixties, where he had been promoted to undersheriff in the seventies, ran for sheriff himself in the eighties, had lost, but then had accepted a position as an investigator; after retirement, he had returned to duty in the Cold Case Task Force that Sandy Sandburg had created for him.

A half century standing behind a badge; Gerald Holman knew where to point a weapon to kill a person.

So why would he shoot himself in the cheek?

There seemed to be only one answer, and it wasn’t contained in the report from DCI. And that was that Gerald Holman did something that, to my knowledge of him, gleaned from his wife Phyllis and both Sandy Sandburg and Lucian, he had never done to another human being.

He had punished himself.                                                                            

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Fantastic

    This book was fantastic and the longmire series of books is the best series I've ever read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderful addition to the series. In Any Other Name, Walt is s

    A wonderful addition to the series. In Any Other Name, Walt is supposed to be on his way to be with Cady when she has her baby but instead he gets roped into helping Lucian with a new case. He doesn't have much time to solve the case because he HAS to be there for his daughter. The only problem is the case turns much more dangerous and more complicated than he thought. At least he has help from Henry, Vic, Dog, and Lucian. Lots of action and as usual lots of heart. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 23, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I¿ll admit, first off, I¿ve never read any of the other Longmire

    I’ll admit, first off, I’ve never read any of the other Longmire novels and I’ve never seen the TV adaptation. Did this keep me from enjoying ANY OTHER NAME? Definitely not! In ANY OTHER NAME Sheriff Walt Longmire has been asked by his mentor and former boss Lucian Connally to investigate Detective Gerald Holman’s apparent suicide. In the meantime, Longmire’s daughter is expecting to give birth to her first child at any moment and is pleading with him to come to her. The case quickly spirals downward as Longmire discovers a deeply buried secret which may cost the lives of many others before the case is solved. Walt doesn’t give up until the case is closed and thankfully he’ll have some help from his girlfriend Undersheriff Victoria Moretti and Henry Standing Bear (aka The Cheyenne Nation). ANY OTHER NAME is an excellent mystery with Western flair. I especially liked how there were facts about the West Longmire shares which play into the story later on down the line. The action and suspense is intense and I became a fan of Walt Longmire after reading ANY OTHER NAME.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    Write faster

    A great book as all of his are. Can't wait for the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Walt Longmire Series #10 - Any Other Name

    Craig Johnson does it again! This was another winner! The characters are back in action with some surprises!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    The Longmire series by Craig Johnson I recommended.

    I enjoyed being able to receive the Longmire Series thru my Nook Book (eBook). So fast and easy.

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  • Posted June 20, 2014

    Love Longmire

    Love these stories! Especially the western setting and Walt. ALERT: unlike the TV show, in the books the female deputy cusses incessantly. Her favorite word is the f- word.

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  • Posted June 13, 2014

    good but not great

    not up to par

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  • Posted June 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Mesmerizing Mystery

    Author Craig Johnson has a wonderful way of pulling you into a setting in such a manner you feel immersed in what is happening. In his latest release, ANY OTHER NAME, Johnson once again shows the lengths his protagonist, Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire, will go for his friends and to see justice served. Torn between his duties as a father and his loyalty to his mentor and former boss, retired Sheriff Lucian Connally, Longmire agrees to help Lucian repay a debt to a dead man. While his daughter, Cady, awaits the birth of her first child (Longmire’s first grandchild) in Philadelphia, Longmire and Lucian visit neighboring Campbell County. It seems Gerald Holman, a by-the-book lawman in charge of Campbell County’s cold case files, committed suicide. But his wife, a friend of Lucian’s, doesn’t believe it. Even though it’s outside his jurisdiction, Longmire begins re-evaluating the case. Holman had been working on three cold cases involving missing women with seemingly no connection. That might not be true as Longmire follows leads to the tiny town of Arrosa. Longmire also wonders why a man would shot himself in the cheek one week and kill himself the next. With the help of his associates, Longmire uncovers dark secrets that some want to remain closed. Once again the author combines a tantalizing mystery with tidbits of humor for a well-balanced story. The plot flows smoothly with twists and turns to hold you spellbound until the end. The characters are fascinating, likeable and realistic. The author’s vivid descriptions places the reader in the middle of the action seemingly so real you’ll swear you feel the cold wind blowing. ANY OTHER NAME is the 11th book in the Longmire Mystery series, but can be read as a stand-alone. New readers won’t be in the dark, but may find themselves intrigued to find out about back stories. The characters have evolved over the series and readers will have a better appreciation for their growth having read the series in order. This is a mesmerizing mystery you won’t be able to put down once you begin. FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    Another Longmire Hit

    Craig Johnson did it again. Captivating read. His characters are so rich. They come to life on every page. GREAT READ!

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    Love the Book!

    I love the book but dealing with mispelled words in the Nook version is discouraging. Can you say SPELL CHECK?

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    great read

    Another great story about Walt Longmire. He sure gets himself into alot of situations. Would like to have read more of Henry and Vic. As always, tense until the last sentence.

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    Disappointed

    This is not the best Longmire ....he seems to have lost his edge ...getting involved with Vic took him down ...the story line was a lot of nonsense ....slave trade for grown women was silly ....go back to stories that you can believe in . the season opener for the TV series was even sillier...I Loved the Original Longmire ,find him a good woman and Vic is not the one .

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    Craig Johnson came through again

    It seemed to me the beginning was written hurriedly, but thankfully Mr Johnson's usual wonderful pace and style took over. I truly hope the publishers don't put too much pressure on the author and ruin a very good thing.

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    The 10th book in the Walt Longmire series does not disappoint. Boy howdy it's good! Walt is once again dragged into danger by former sheriff Lucian Connolly and has to figure how what's going on while Lucian sits around shooting coffee pots! To make it all the more intense, Walt's first grandchild is due any day way over on the East Coast and he keeps missing his plane rides. Full of intense moments often interlaced with Johnson's trademark dry humor this book is a fully enjoyable read. So much so that when I finished it I turned right around and reread it the next day. If you like modern westerns, if you like a lead character who never gives up and if you like fully developed characters interacting in a dangerous situation I highly recommend reading this book and the others in the Walt Longmire series.

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  • Posted June 3, 2014

    I had decided to linger awhile before I opened up my world to th

    I had decided to linger awhile before I opened up my world to this particular read, but then I reevaluated my original decision and decided a few more of you need to get on the Craig Johnson bandwagon before we run you over. Whether I decide to drive this truck, or sleep in the passenger seat, this is one ride filled with beautiful prose and strings of curse words (courtesy of Victoria Moretti), a rather large Indian, and more than a little folklore and Wyoming history weaved through its elegant pages. And that doesn’t even include the man himself. Longmire, or so the TV series goes, but most of you probably know him as Walt. He may have his way with the ladies, and he hates to run for more than a mile or two, but he can drink a longneck better than any redneck, and he has friends who can commune with the spirits, so yeah, he’s got that going for him. He’s also a bit stubborn, and he has this habit of actually finishing his cases, and not leaving a single man…or woman behind.

    To top it all off, he’s on the verge of his first grandchild, and he’s been left to the Wyoming elements more than once in his life, but that just means he’s gotten good at dealing with the cold and the snow and even a few coldhearted souls who show their fangs at the first available opportunity. With a lingering sensation at the back of my neck and hairs standing at attention saluting the sky, I charged through this read with my elbows out and my game face on, and I plunged into a universe filled with more than just dead bodies.

    Victoria “Vic” Moretti might just be one of my favorite fictional characters of the female persuasion. She’s got a mouth on her that could get you arrested in Colombia, and she has more curves than the letter S, and she nips earlobes and other available body parts at will. Boy howdy. That’s all I have to say about that. Now that I have picked my jaw up with the back of my right hand, we’ll move on.

    Dickzilla. Not to be confused with Bridezilla can be one evil bastard. He’s not known for intelligence, or even a slight amount of competence, but he’ll lead the charge and stomp you into the nearest cow patty. But once you hose yourself off, you’ll soon realize it’s nothing personal.

    ANY OTHER NAME certainly made me loud and proud and more than a little glad I had the opportunity to do so before the masses. I was entertained for the better part of this tale with my six-shooter on my right hip, and my wink ready to go, along with my cowboy boots and sweet lass on my right arm. But if you really want to see Craig Johnson exhibit his true talents, you may want to start a bit earlier in this series. If you’re a longtime fan, or even if you’ve fired off a round or two with the man himself, you may find yourself happy you hopped along for the ride.

    I received this book for free through NetGalley.

    Robert Downs
    Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator

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  • Posted May 31, 2014

    I enjoy the Longmire series because of the joy in exploring othe

    I enjoy the Longmire series because of the joy in exploring other cities and learning about other states.  This story centers in South Dakota and Wyoming, and of course, the season is winter.  The majority of the Craig Johnson books plummet snow everywhere, and of course, Walt must have a vision/dream.  Cady is down-to-the wire in baby mode, and is expecting Walt to be at her side when the next generation arrives.  Walt, a true blue lawman, must capture the villain before he heads to Cady's side.  The journey must contain several life threatening escapades for Longmire, the grizzly that never stops.  Vic and Henry Standing Bear make brief appearances to aid Walt.  I like Johnson prose, and his characterization, but Walt's superhuman fights are too much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2014

    Campbell County Citizen

    A great read. Thrilling and fairly accurate to the locale. Thank you Mr. Johnson.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2014

    Boy Howdy Not so good

    As all Longmire fans I looked forward to #10 but I was disappointed. The humor was there but I had to really suspend disbelief on this one. He was injured too much and way too often to keep going and just once I would like to see him put his daughter before a case. He loves his job more than anything else and I assume that is Mr. Johnson's decision to not break the mold. I know, I know if it ain't broke don't fix it but if a daughter and granddaughter do not mean more to him than is loyalty to Lucian I don't think anything can give Longmire perspective.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Boring

    I have loved all the other Longmire stories. This was boring and I really disliked the way he treated his daughter. I hope the next one is better.

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