Walt, the lead character in Craig Johnson's book (and television) series about murder and justice in Absaroka County, Wyoming, has definite likes and dislikes in literature.
He quotes Shakespeare, Donne, and Faulkner, and knows his way around the works of Steinbeck. He thinks about issues like fairness and decency, he isn't averse to violence applied in the right places, and he prefers happy endings.
So, if Walt Longmire walked into my library and asked for some reading suggestions, here are my top picks to send home with him:
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower Young Mister Hornblower begins his adventures with this book, in which he applies his native pluck and good sense to cattle, politics, and sailing through bad weather. I think Walt will approve of the way Horatio does not succeed in every endeavor, but does not give in and does not give up.
The Underground Railroad Cora and Caesar try to escape from the slave-owning South to the free North via a railroad that is real, not metaphoric. Powerful, compelling, and gut-wrenching: this is what Walt Longmire likes in a book, and this book has all of that.
I could never let Walt Longmire leave the library without a cowboy book!
All the Pretty Horses John Grady Cole is a sixteen-year-old cowboy in Texas when his grandfather's ranch is sold off. With nowhere else to go, John and his best friend Lacey Rawlins ride off for Mexico, and things go terribly wrong. Walt will love this for the gritty realism of the adventure.
Since Walt's best friend is a member of the Cheyenne Nation, perhaps he would like to read about another tribe.
Spider Woman's Daughter Author Tony Hillerman's daughter Anne has taken up the family storytelling tradition and added to her dad's legacy of modern mystery, Navaho traditions, and the evocative landscape of the desert Southwest in this new story about Joe Leaphorn, Jim Chee, and Bernadette Manuelito.
I always like to throw a "wildcard" suggestion onto a stack. For Walt Longmire, I recommend:
Storm Front If Walt weren't such a Luddite, I'd recommend that he check out the downloadable eBook of this story about a magic-wielding private detective just looking to pay the bills and see justice done in modern Chicago. Since he doesn't own a cell phone or an eBook reader, though, I would definitely hand this story to Walt on Audio CD, narrated by the gravelly, growling, unmistakable voice of James Marsters.