Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Longmire: A Review

This past year Mary and I became fans of Longmire, a crime drama on the A & E network. Actor Robert Taylor plays the title character who is a Sherriff in contemporary Wyoming. His best friend, Henry Standing Bear, is played by Lou Diamond Phillips. Following three seasons on A & E the series was cancelled and has been picked up by NETFLIX. The fourth season is to be available on the streaming network in late 2015.

The source material for the TV show is a series of mysteries written by Craig Johnson. At the library this winter I discovered the latest novel in the series and also a collection of short stories based on the Longmire character. I have been thrilled to discover this author and the world he has created and have now begun to read the series from the beginning.

The first book in the series is titled The Cold Dish and is an intriguing story of revenge. I especially enjoy the relationship between the two best friends and the ways they support and challenge one another. The author also does a fine job introducing and explaining various aspects of Native American Spirituality. The Longmire character doesn't come across as sad or as troubled as he does in the TV series but nevertheless is presented as a very thoughtful and educated man.

Author Tony Hillerman has this to say about the first two books in the series, "The Cold Dish is my top pick for the first novel Edgar Award. It's that good. Now Craig is out with Death Without Company and it's even better. Don't you dare miss it." I found the second book in the series at the library this morning and cannot wait to read it.

Another thing that I like about the series is how Longmire will go on these philosophical musings that reflect on his life and work as a law man. Here is an example.

Somewhere in all this musing, I noticed a fat little snow flake drift across my field of vision and settle against one of the concrete blocks and disappear. There were others, now that I noticed, gently floating through the cooling night air. Scientists say there is a noise that snowflakes make when they land on water, like the wail of a coyote; the sound reaches a climax and then fades away, all in about one ten thousandth of a second. They noticed it when they were using sonar to track migrating salmon in Alaska. The snowflakes made so much noise that it masked the signals of the fish, and the experiment had to be aborted. The flake floats on the water, and there is a little sound below; but, as soon as it starts to melt, water is sucked up by capillary action. They figure the air bubbles are released from the snowflake or are trapped by the rising water. Each of these bubbles vibrates as it struggles to reach equilibrium with its surroundings and sends out sound waves, a cry so small and so high that it's undetectable by the human ear.

These musings lead Longmire to reflect that an awful lot of the voices in my life were so small and high as to be undetectable by the human ear."

Upon reading these words I found myself thinking of all the voices of the homeless, the abused, the hungry, and so many others who do not suffer in silence but in voices that are so small and high as to be undetectable by the human ear. If I could hear those voices the sound might be to painful and piercing to endure.

Sherriff Longmire, an imperfect man of integrity, leans into those voices and attempts to bring justice to those whose cries go unheard by most.


Dewey said...

Great and thorough review. Thanks for the suggestion. We enjoyed it for quite a while and might again once later episodes are free.
Very nice to see you blogging again.

Chuck Schwartz said...

Thanks, Dew. I will bring the first novel in the series up with me tomorrow. I am also enjoying the book you loaned me, "In the Moon of Red Ponies". It is also set in the Wyoming, Montana, Idaho area and has a Native American as one of the supporting characters.

Sarah said...

We are enjoying this series very much and I have recommended it to others.

Sarah said...
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