An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson is the 12th novel in the New York Times bestselling Longmire series, where Walt, Henry, and Vic discover much more than they bargained for when they are called in to investigate a hit-and-run accident involving a young motorcyclist near Devils Tower.
Read this exclusive excerpt from An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson, and make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win the latest Longmire mystery!
In the midst of the largest motorcycle rally in the world, a young biker is run off the road and ends up in critical condition. When Sheriff Walt Longmire and his good friend Henry Standing Bear are called to Hulett, Wyoming—the nearest town to America's first national monument, Devils Tower—to investigate, things start getting complicated. As competing biker gangs; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; a military-grade vehicle donated to the tiny local police force by a wealthy entrepreneur; and Lola, the real-life femme fatale and namesake for Henry's '59 Thunderbird (and, by extension, Walt's granddaughter) come into play, it rapidly becomes clear that there is more to get to the bottom of at this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally than a bike accident. After all, in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle, whose Adventures of Sherlock Holmes the Bear won't stop quoting, “There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”
I tried to think how many times I’d kneeled down on asphalt to read the signs, but I knew this was the first time I’d done it in Hulett. Located in the northeast corner of the Wyoming Black Hills, the town is best known for being the home of Devils Tower.
I looked at the macadam blend, the stones shining in the mix that was still wet from the early morning rain, and sighed. With the advent of antilock brakes, it was hard enough to properly estimate the speed of a vehicle involved in a traffic accident, never mind in the rain.
“Do you see anything?”
I nudged my hat farther back on my head and turned to look at the large Indian leaning against the door of Lola, his Baltic blue ’59 Thunderbird and my granddaughter’s namesake. “How about you come over here and take a look for yourself.”
Henry Standing Bear didn’t move and continued to study the large book in his hands. “I am on vacation.”
I was kneeling at the apex of a sweeping curve on state route 24 where the road veered off toward Matho Tipila, the Cheyenne name for the first United States National Monument, so declared by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906.
“There is traffic coming.”
I didn’t hear anything, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t right, so I walked to the edge of the road and watched as a phalanx of motorcyclists came around the corner and descended toward us like a flock of disgruntled magpies.
They slowed—not for me, I wasn’t in uniform—but because of the corpuscle-red Indian motorcycle with the modified KTM extended rear-axle dirt bike that roosted on the flatbed trailer behind the Thunderbird.
The leather-clad cyclists thumbed their horns and gave a collected thumbs-up to the Cheyenne Nation as he leaned there, looking as if he were negotiating a treaty, with his muscled arms folded over his chest, the first volume of Leslie S. Klinger’s The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The CompleteShort Stories in one hand.
“You could have waved back.”
He shook his head. “That would not fit with the tourist’s stereotypical vision of the stoic, yet noble, savage.”
I glanced at the book. “Is that mine?”
“Yes, I took it from your shelves. I did not think you would mind if I borrowed it.”
I glanced back at Devils Tower crowding the horizon. The geologic area around the megalith is not of the same composition as the tower itself, and the belief is that about fifty to sixty million years ago, during the Paleogene period, an igneous intrusion forced its way up through the local sedimentary stone, some saying it was an ancient volcano, some saying it was a laccolith, an uncovered bulge that never made it to the surface. “You know how it got its name, right?”
“Yours or ours?”
I ignored him and started back toward the T-bird. “When Colonel Richard Irving Dodge led an expedition back in 1875, his interpreter got it wrong and referred to it as Bad God’s Tower, which then became Devils Tower, without the apostrophe as per the geographic standard.” I opened Lola’s passenger door and eased in.
The Bear climbed into the driver’s seat and studied me.
I reached back and stroked Dog’s head. “You don’t care.”
He hit the ignition on the big bird. “I care that a delegation of my people attempted to have the name restored to Bear Lodge National Historic Landmark, but your U.S. representative killed it. ‘The name change will harm the tourist trade and bring economic hardship to area communities.’ ”
I knew the man he was talking about, and I had to admit that his nasal imitation was spot on. “But as an expert, what’s your feeling on the apostrophe?”
He grunted and placed the book between us. “ ‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.’ ” Pulling the vintage convertible into gear, he patted the book. “Sherlock Holmes.”
“Did you borrow all three volumes?”
He pulled onto the vacant road. “Yes.”
Excerpt from An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson, published on September 13, 2016 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright by Craig Johnson, 2016.
Comment below for a chance to win a copy of An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson!
To enter, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.
TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!
An Obvious Fact Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at https://www.criminalelement.com/stories/2016/09/an-obvioius-fact-new-excerpt-craig-johnson-comment-sweepstakes beginning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) September 14, 2016. Sweepstakes ends 9:59 a.m. ET September 28, 2016. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
To learn more or order a copy, visit:
Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.