Jonesin’ for a Fix: Books for TV Addicts — Longmire edition

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Despite being unexpectedly cancelled by A&E after three seemingly successful seasons, there’s still hope for Sheriff Walt Longmire and Absaroka County, Wyoming. Insiders report that the Longmire team is preparing pitches for possible suitors, chief among them Netflix (a logical choice because the first two seasons—and soon the third—are already streaming on the site) and Amazon, though traditional cable networks like TNT and AMC will probably also be courted. But while fans wait (in between bouts of tweeting and retweeting #LongLiveLongmire) for the show’s fate to be decided, here are some book ideas to pass the time until Walt returns.

If you just like everything about Longmire…

There’s nothing better to get you through this bout of Longmire-us interruptus than Craig Johnson’s long-running series upon which the show is based. They’re best read in order (start with The Cold Dish), and we won’t tattle if you binge-read them all in one weekend. In the book, Walt is as enigmatically heroic, acerbic, and loyal as he is on television. While several of the book’s basic plots were used throughout the three seasons (most notably 2011’s Hell is Empty, in which Walt tracks escaped convicts through a Wyoming snowstorm—a story that became the season two premiere, “Unquiet Mind”), nothing will spoil the thrill of reading Johnson’s easy prose that gut-punches you when you least expect it.

Craig Johnson plus books

 

If you’ve fallen in love with Wyoming (even though the show was filmed in New Mexico)…

Few authors convey the rugged, dangerous beauty of one of the country’s least populous states better than Annie Proulx, particularly in the short story “Brokeback Mountain” (read the story before you watch Ang Lee’s film). If that doesn’t satiate your thirst for all things Wyoming, check out her three additional state-themed short story collections, 1999’s Close Range: Wyoming Stories, 2004’s Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2, and 2008’s Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3.

Annie Proulx series

If you can’t get enough of law enforcement men in the wilderness…

Read C.J. Box’s mystery series, beginning with 2001’s Open Season. Box chronicles the life of game warden Joe Pickett in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains, where he seems to come across more criminals than wildlife. Like Walt, Joe Pickett is a quiet but forceful hero. And luckily there are 15 books (and counting) in the series, the latest being a collection of Pickett short stories, Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett Country.

CJ Box

 

If you like your crime stories more factual than fictional…

Read playwright Moisés Kaufman’s The Laramie Project, a haunting real-life account of the brutal murder of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay man who was savagely beaten and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. Notable not only for the unflinching light it shines on hate crimes and homophobia, The Laramie Project incorporates more than 200 interviews with actual residents of the small town. Kaufman revisited the story on the 10-year anniversary of Shepard’s death (most editions of the play now include The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later), and the play is one of most-performed theater pieces in America.

Laramie600
Scene from The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later

Jordan is a freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon, after spending six years in NYC for college and graduate school (where she earned her MFA in Fiction Writing from Columbia) before realizing that her heart belonged in the Pacific Northwest. She (hopefully) puts that degree to good use writing for BookTrib and Publishers Weekly about the vast quantity of books she reads. While Jordan’s literary diet is largely crime fiction—as she was raised, often literally, in Portland’s only mystery bookstore—she’s perfectly content to read novels and nonfiction that lack a murder because good writing transcends labels. Follow her on Twitter @jordanfoster13.

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