Craig Johnson is an American author born on January 16, 1961, in Huntington, West Virginia. He is renowned for his captivating mystery novels set in the contemporary American West. Johnson is best known for his series featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire, which is set in the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming.
He has a background in ranching and law enforcement, lending authenticity to his storytelling. Johnson’s works have gained a dedicated following and have been adapted into the successful TV series “Longmire.”
|D.O.B||16 January 1961|
Craig Johnson’s Writing Genre/Style
Craig Johnson’s writing primarily falls within the mystery genre, characterized by its strong sense of place, intricate plotlines, and well-drawn characters. His novels are deeply rooted in the Western landscape, offering readers a vivid and atmospheric portrayal of life in rural Wyoming.
Johnson’s writing style is known for its crisp prose and a balance between crime-solving and exploration of complex human relationships.
Table of Contents
List of Craig Johnson‘s Books in Order
- Walt Longmire Mysteries: A Series by Craig Johnson
- Novellas by Craig Johnson (The novellas are considered canon events within the main series. Johnson’s novellas typically tie into the main series and offer additional insights into the characters and events in the Longmire universe.)
|S No.||Novellas Part of Walt Longmire Mysteries||Check Price|
|7.5||Divorce Horse (2012)||Check Price|
|8.5||Christmas in Absaroka County (2012)||Check Price|
|8.6||Messenger (2013)||Check Price|
|9.5||The Spirit of Steamboat (2013)||Check Price|
|10.5||Wait for Signs (2014)||Check Price|
|11.5||The Highwayman (2016)||Check Price|
Craig Johnson’s Literary Contribution & Awards:
Craig Johnson has made a significant literary contribution with his Sheriff Walt Longmire series, which has garnered widespread acclaim and a dedicated fan base. His books explore themes of justice, family, and the changing face of the American West.
Johnson has received numerous awards for his contributions to the crime fiction genre, including the Western Writers of America Spur Award and the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Award. His work has not only entertained but also shed light on the unique challenges and beauty of the Western landscape, making him a notable figure in contemporary American literature.
Craig Johnson’s Books in Reading Order
Walt Longmire Mysteries
1. The Cold Dish
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire investigates the murder of Cody Pritchard, questioning if it’s a case of revenge for a past crime.
- Publishing Year: 2004
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.12 (39,318 ratings, 4,340 reviews)
Walt Longmire, the seasoned sheriff of Wyoming’s Absaroka County, faces a challenging and potentially explosive case when Cody Pritchard is found dead. Two years prior, Cody and his accomplices had received suspended sentences for raping a Northern Cheyenne girl.
The air is thick with thoughts of revenge, but Longmire is determined to ensure that this dish best served cold never makes it to the table. As he dives deeper into the investigation, Longmire confronts ethical dilemmas and the volatility of human emotions, all while racing against time to solve one of the most perplexing cases of his 24-year career.
2. Death Without Company
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire investigates a mysterious poisoning at an assisted living home, delving into a dramatic past.
- Publishing Year: 2006
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.22 (23,774 ratings, 1,908 reviews)
In the rugged landscapes of Absaroka County, Wyoming, Sheriff Walt Longmire finds himself probing into a mysterious poisoning case. When Mari Baroja is discovered poisoned at the Durant Home for Assisted Living, Longmire dives deep into an investigation that stretches back fifty years into the woman’s intriguing Basque history.
With assistance from his friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and a new face, Santiago Saizarbitoria, Sheriff Longmire must bridge the gap between past and present to unmask the culprit in their midst. Written by Craig Johnson, this novel offers a gripping blend of mystery and history.
3. Kindness Goes Unpunished
- Logline: Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire dives into a political cover-up in Philadelphia after an attack on his daughter.
- Publishing Year: 2007
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.21 (20,460 ratings, 1,558 reviews)
Walt Longmire, the long-serving sheriff of Wyoming’s Absaroka County, is known for dispensing justice with wit and charm. On a trip to Philadelphia with his close friend Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s world turns upside down.
A brutal assault leaves his daughter Cady critically injured and entangled in a sinister political cover-up. With backup from Henry, Deputy Victoria Moretti, the expansive Moretti clan of Philadelphia police, and his trusty canine Dog, Sheriff Longmire is determined to unveil the truth. Set in the City of Brotherly Love, this tale reminds us that sometimes, no act of kindness goes unpunished.
4. Another Man’s Moccasins
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire investigates a murder eerily reminiscent of one from his past in Vietnam.
- Publishing Year: 2008
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.24 (18,899 ratings, 1,368 reviews)
When a young Vietnamese woman’s body is discovered by the interstate in Absaroka County, Wyoming, Sheriff Walt Longmire is committed to uncovering her identity. However, he’s soon confronted with chilling parallels between this crime and a murder he investigated as a marine in Vietnam.
The case becomes even more tangled when Virgil White Buffalo, a homeless Crow Indian and Vietnam vet, is found with the woman’s purse. While evidence points towards Virgil, Longmire is hesitant to pin the murder on him, especially when a photograph in the purse strikes a deeply personal chord.
In this fourth installment of Craig Johnson’s acclaimed Walt Longmire series, Longmire seeks answers to two murders—both drenched in blood, but separated by decades.
5. The Dark Horse
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire goes undercover to unravel the truth behind a woman’s confession of killing her husband.
- Publishing Year: 2009
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.29 (18,195 ratings, 1,288 reviews)
In Craig Johnson’s “The Dark Horse”, Wyoming’s landscape becomes the backdrop for a tale where noir meets social justice. Sheriff Walt Longmire dives deep into a mystery when he suspects that a prisoner’s confession of murdering her husband isn’t quite right. The accused, Mary, reportedly shot Wade Barsad six times in the head after he cruelly burned her horses alive.
However, Walt isn’t convinced by her confession. Adopting the guise of an insurance claims investigator, Longmire probes further into the case. He uncovers a list of potential suspects who might have wanted Wade gone, including a captivating Guatemalan bartender and a rancher with a penchant for alcohol but not truthfulness. The sheriff’s pursuit of the truth leads him into a hostile town where he risks everything to save a seemingly hopeless woman.
6. Junkyard Dogs
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire investigates a severed thumb and conflicts surrounding a Wyoming junkyard.
- Publishing Year: 2010
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.24 (17,853 ratings, 1,211 reviews)
In Durant, Wyoming, the economic landscape is changing, particularly with the rise of a multi-million dollar ranchette development. These developers are keen to remove the neighboring junkyard, which becomes the center of attention after a severed thumb is found there.
As tensions rise, Sheriff Walt Longmire, accompanied by his loyal dog, lifelong friend Henry Standing Bear, and deputies Santiago Saizarbitoria and Victoria Moretti, find themselves navigating an increasingly tense environment reminiscent of a high plains pressure cooker.
“Junkyard Dogs,” the sixth installment in Craig Johnson’s acclaimed Walt Longmire series, masterfully combines humor, Western justice, and thrilling plot twists, as Longmire delves into the complexities of human nature, surrounded by a backdrop of love, laughter, death, and abandoned cars.
7. Hell Is Empty
- Logline: Wyoming’s Sheriff Walt Longmire races against time in icy conditions to capture an escaped murderer.
- Publishing Year: 2011
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.29 (15,275 ratings, 1,327 reviews)
Wyoming’s seasoned Sheriff, Walt Longmire, has upheld order in Absaroka County for over three decades. However, his dedication and experience are tested in this gripping seventh adventure. Raynaud Shade, a Crow Indian by adoption, confesses to a murder committed a decade ago, with the young victim buried deep in the Big Horn Mountains.
Transporting Shade and other convicts in a snowstorm, Walt is informed by the FBI that the body is in his territory, with the boy named White Buffalo. Using Indian mysticism and a worn-out copy of Dante’s Inferno as guides, Walt chases Shade and the escapees into the treacherous Cloud Peak Wilderness. He risks his life, determined to uphold both worldly justice and spiritual redemption.
8. As The Crow Flies
- Logline: Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire investigates a suspicious fall on the Cheyenne Reservation amidst wedding preparations.
- Publishing Year: 2012
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.28 (16,089 ratings, 1,070 reviews)
In his eighth outing, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire is preoccupied; his daughter, Cady, is set to get married in a fortnight, but their wedding venue unexpectedly goes up in “smoke signals”. To avert Cady’s displeasure, Walt, alongside his close pal Henry Standing Bear, embarks on a journey to the Cheyenne Reservation in search of an alternate wedding spot.
Their trip, however, takes a dark turn when they witness a young Crow woman plunge from the cliffs of Painted Warrior. While the incident appears as a possible suicide, questions arise suggesting something more malevolent. The case isn’t technically under Walt’s jurisdiction, but Lolo Long, the captivating new tribal police chief, manages to rope him into the investigation.
9. A Serpent’s Tooth
- Logline: Sheriff Longmire investigates the mystery of a Mormon “lost boy” in search of his mother, leading him to a dangerous polygamy group.
- Publishing Year: 2013
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.29 (13,976 ratings, 1,063 reviews)
Sheriff Walt Longmire, the inspiration for A&E’s Longmire series, faces peril in the ninth installment of Craig Johnson’s bestselling series. When Absaroka County’s homecoming festivities are disrupted by the arrival of a homeless boy, Cord Lynear, Longmire is drawn into a complex case. Identified as a Mormon “lost boy”, Cord is desperately searching for his missing mother.
With minimal clues available, Longmire, along with his fiery deputy Victoria Moretti and trusted friend Henry Standing Bear, sets out on a high plains scavenger hunt. The investigation takes a dark turn as it points them to an interstate polygamy group stockpiling weapons and fueled by a malevolent vendetta.
10. Any Other Name
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire investigates a former detective’s suicide and uncovers dark secrets tied to missing women.
- Publishing Year: 2014
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.24 (12,016 ratings, 1,026 reviews)
Sheriff Walt Longmire’s popularity had already surged due to the A&E television series “Longmire”, further augmenting Craig Johnson’s dedicated readership. In “Any Other Name”, Longmire’s winter discontent is interrupted when his previous boss, Lucian Conally, requests his assistance on a sensitive matter.
Detective Gerald Holman has passed away, presumed to have taken his own life, and Lucian desires clarity on what pushed his friend to such extremes. As Walt is eagerly awaiting the birth of his first grandchild, he dives into the case, discovering that Holman might have overlooked crucial evidence about three vanished women. As he delves deeper, Walt stumbles upon a grievous secret so perilous it might claim more lives even before justice can be served in the authentic Wyoming style.
11. Dry Bones
- Logline: Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire investigates a cold case ignited by a discovered T. rex fossil and a dead rancher.
- Publishing Year: 2015
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.23 (11,478 ratings, 1,024 reviews)
In Absaroka County, Wyoming, a remarkable discovery is made: the most complete fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Initially, it seems unrelated to Sheriff Walt Longmire, until the rancher who owns the land where the fossil was found is discovered dead in a pond.
With various parties, from the rancher’s family, the Cheyenne tribe, to the Deputy Attorney General and FBI agents, all contesting ownership of the invaluable remains, Longmire is drawn into a complex investigation. Joining forces with undersheriff Victoria Moretti, Henry Standing Bear, and his loyal canine companion, Dog, Walt delves into a case that spans sixty-six million years, finding that it’s quickly warming up.
12. An Obvious Fact
- Logline: In the midst of a massive motorcycle rally, Walt Longmire investigates a hit-and-run near Devils Tower, uncovering more than anticipated.
- Publishing Year: 2016
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.25 (11,680 ratings, 958 reviews)
During the world’s largest motorcycle rally, a young biker is critically injured in a hit-and-run. Sheriff Walt Longmire and his friend, Henry Standing Bear, are called to Hulett, Wyoming, near America’s first national monument, Devils Tower, to investigate.
The situation quickly grows complex with the involvement of rival biker gangs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, a military-grade vehicle gifted to the local police by a rich entrepreneur, and Lola—a femme fatale linked to Henry’s vintage car and, indirectly, Walt’s granddaughter.
The case proves there’s more to uncover at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a mere accident. As the saying by Arthur Conan Doyle goes, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
13. The Western Star
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire confronts his past when a photograph from a bygone era sets him on a collision course with revenge.
- Publishing Year: 2017
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.27 (9,905 ratings, 1,091 reviews)
In the thirteenth installment of Craig Johnson’s acclaimed Longmire series, Sheriff Walt Longmire finds himself reflecting on his past. After a weapons certification in Wyoming, a younger sheriff presents Walt with a photograph of twenty-five armed men by a Challenger steam locomotive.
This image takes Walt back to his early days as a deputy when he, along with his mentor Lucian, attended the annual Wyoming Sheriff’s Association event on the Western Star excursion train. With only his Colt .45 and an Agatha Christie novel, the young Walt was hardly ready for the complex dynamics of twenty-four seasoned sheriffs and the eclectic group accompanying them.
This memory, combined with an impending parole hearing for a formidable adversary from his past, thrusts Walt into a perilous blend of history and present threats.
14. Depth of Winter
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire ventures into the Mexican desert to rescue his kidnapped daughter from a vicious cartel.
- Publishing Year: 2018
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.01 (9,857 ratings, 1,057 reviews)
Sheriff Walt Longmire is faced with a nightmare scenario when his beloved daughter Cady is kidnapped by the ruthless drug cartel leader, Tomas Bidarte. Winter is approaching, but Longmire finds himself in an unfamiliar and hostile environment: the vast, lawless terrains of the northern Mexican desert.
Here, he’s isolated, with no familiar faces, no trust, and where his usual methods of law enforcement are rendered useless. Despite the daunting odds—being one man up against an entire cartel army, Walt, driven by a father’s desperation and armed with his Colt .45, plunges into the sweltering desert heat, determined to save Cady. The task is perilous, as he navigates through a land where the rules are different and danger lurks around every corner.
15. Land of Wolves
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire investigates a potential suicide with links to a notorious Basque family and a mysterious wolf.
- Publishing Year: 2019
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.33 (9,926 ratings, 891 reviews)
In “Land of Wolves”, Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire is on a journey to recover from traumatic events he faced in Mexico. Now, he finds himself deeply involved in investigating a case that may or may not be the suicide of a shepherd. The investigation is complicated by links to a Basque family known for a gruesome form of vengeance against local sheriffs.
Adding to the intricacies of the case is the sudden appearance of a large wolf in the Big Horn Mountains. As Walt delves deeper into the mystery, he finds an unexpected emotional connection with the wolf, further entwining him in the case’s complexities.
16. Next to Last Stand
- Logline: Walt Longmire investigates a possible art heist connected to the iconic “Custer’s Last Fight” painting.
- Publishing Year: 2020
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.26 (9,192 ratings, 870 reviews)
The renowned painting “Custer’s Last Fight”, once copied and distributed by Anheuser-Busch to millions, was believed to have been lost in a 1946 fire at the 7th Cavalry Headquarters in Texas. However, the sudden death of Charley Lee Stillwater at the Wyoming Home for Soldiers & Sailors reveals a puzzling clue: a fragment of the painting and a shoebox containing a million dollars.
This discovery draws Sheriff Walt Longmire into an intricate investigation, tracing the origins of a possible art heist and trying to uncover the mystery behind the painting’s uncertain fate.
17. Daughter of the Morning Star
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear protect a high school basketball star after she receives death threats.
- Publishing Year: 2021
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.41 (9,141 ratings, 784 reviews)
Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long reaches out for help when her niece, Jaya “Longshot” Long, a standout on the Lame Deer Lady Stars High School basketball team, starts receiving death threats. Jaya’s trajectory mirrors her older sister’s, who tragically vanished a year ago, emblematic of the crisis of missing Native women in Indian Country.
Hoping to bring attention to Jaya’s situation, Lolo involves Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear. However, in doing so, she inadvertently exposes Sheriff Longmire to the most perilous enemy he’s ever confronted, in both the living world and beyond.
18. Hell and Back
- Logline: Sheriff Walt Longmire delves into the mysteries of an all-knowing being, seeking answers in a haunting Native American boarding school.
- Publishing Year: 2022
- Goodreads Ratings: 3.96 (6,507 ratings, 716 reviews)
In the latest installment of the renowned Longmire series, Sheriff Walt Longmire finds himself picking up from where “Daughter of the Morning Star” concluded. He becomes deeply engrossed in the enigma of the ‘wandering without’, a legendary spiritual entity believed to consume souls.
Believing that clues may lie within the remnants of a bygone Native American boarding school, Walt is driven to uncover the truth. The Fort Pratt Industrial Indian Training School, once purposed to erase the cultural identities of Native children, now lingers hauntingly in Walt’s mind, having first been introduced to him through a worn postcard from Jimmy Lane, father to Jeanie One Moon. Despite previous efforts yielding no closure to Jeanie’s mysterious vanishing, Walt realizes he may be facing an unprecedented foe.
19. The Longmire Defense
- Logline: Walt Longmire confronts a complex crime scene connected to the past of his grandfather in Wyoming.
- Publishing Year: 2023
- Goodreads Ratings: 4.69 (1,283 ratings, 138 reviews)
Walt Longmire grapples with one of his most puzzling crime scenes in the aftermath of a case that unearthed the ghosts of his past and made him question justice and mercy in the rugged Western terrains. Situated deep within the Wyoming landscape, Absaroka County’s Sheriff, Walt Longmire, encounters a crime scene distinctly different from the rest.
The mystery ties back to his grandfather’s era in Wyoming, providing Walt with clues and motives grounded in old revelations about his ancestor. Brimming with intense rural action and the beloved character ensemble from the Longmire series, this novel promises to captivate both devoted fans and newcomers.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Who is Craig Johnson?
Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Walt Longmire mystery novels. His books have served as the basis for “Longmire,” a hit Netflix original drama.
- How many books are in the Walt Longmire mystery series?
As of September 2023, there are 19 novels in the Walt Longmire mystery series.
- What is the latest book released in the Walt Longmire series?
The latest book is “The Longmire Defense,” which was released on September 5, 2023. It is the 19th novel in the series and has become a New York Times bestseller.
- Are there any other recent releases in the series?
Yes, “Hell And Back” was released on September 6, 2022, and “Daughter Of The Morning Star” was released in 2021. Both books are New York Times bestsellers.
- Where can I purchase Craig Johnson’s books?
You can find a copy of each book at your favorite bookstore, online retailers, or you can buy a signed copy directly from the mentioned source.
- How can I stay updated with Craig Johnson’s latest releases and news?
You can sign up for occasional e-mail newsletters from Craig Johnson. He also releases special content like “The Perfect A,” a Walt Longmire Christmas Story.
- Have Craig Johnson’s books won any awards?
Yes, Craig Johnson’s books have won numerous awards including Le Prix du Polar Nouvel Observateur / Bibliobs, the Wyoming Historical Association’s Book of the Year, Le Prix 813, the Western Writers of America’s Spur Award, and many more.
- Where does Craig Johnson reside?
Craig Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, a town with a population of 26.