cover image Spirit of Steamboat

Spirit of Steamboat

Craig Johnson. Viking, $20 (160p) ISBN 978-0-670-01578-8

Bestseller Johnson (A Serpent’s Tooth) delivers a nail-biter with this seasonal Walt Longmire novella. On a snowy Christmas Eve, while reading A Christmas Carol, the Wyoming sheriff receives an unexpected visitor: a part-Japanese young woman who says she needs to see Walt’s predecessor as sheriff, Lucian Connally, a WWII vet who flew in the Doolittle raid on Tokyo in 1942 and is now in a rest home. Flashback to December 24, 1988. A girl seriously injured in a traffic accident has to get to Denver fast for treatment, but a blizzard makes flying her there hazardous. Furthermore, the only plane available is an antique B-25, named Steamboat after the bucking bronco on Wyoming’s license plate, and the only pilot who can fly Steamboat is Lucian. Soon, the two lawmen, their team, and the patient are aloft, fighting the weather and a host of mechanical problems. While the outcome is never in doubt, the woman’s meeting with Lucian in the present day holds more than one surprise. 5-city author tour. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (Oct.)