An Obvious Fact: New Excerpt

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.”

“About what?”

“The apostrophe.”

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.”

“Oh, brother.”

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!

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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 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.


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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.


  1. Maureen Heedles

    Craig Johnson is an amazing storyteller. I am looking forward to reading this new volume in the world of Walt Longmire.

  2. Beverly Price

    I loved watching Longmire on TV & did not realize it was based on books. I would love to read the books.

  3. Rachel Christian

    Looks like a great read!

  4. Brad Bonds

    I would love to read this book. It would be the first of the series for me. I really enjoyed it on TV.

  5. Margaret Barber

    All a well that ends well, if there are hills and valleys and curves to make you want to see the end. The Longmire series continuation above sounds like it will provide all of those things.
    Thank you Craig!


    I love these books

  7. Karen Mikusak

    Would love to win!

  8. Pat Murphy

    Love this series. Miss being able to watch series.

  9. Patrick Murphy

    I need to read more of this series. I read the first and watched some of the TV episodes. Would love to read more.

  10. Mary Ann Woods

    I have enjoyed all the Walt Longmire novels. This one sounds just as interesting.

  11. peter greene

    Tony Hillerman’s Navajo mysteries and James Lee Burke’s Hackberry novels are in the same category as Craig Johnson’s Longmire, great modern westerns.

  12. Don McClure

    Cool cover!

  13. Joyce Mitchell

    I love the Longmire books – thanks for the chance to win.

  14. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read the book.

  15. Ruth F

    Cannot wait to read the latest Longmire book.

  16. Deanna Stillings

    I like the relationship between the two men. It makes for an interesting excerpt.

  17. susan beamon

    I like Standing Bear, quoting Sherlock Holmes.

  18. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    It’s an obvious fact that I want to win this book! Yes!

  19. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one

  20. Katie Caprero

    I LOVE the Longmire books and the Netflix series. I hope I win

  21. Maj

    Walt is the man!!!

  22. Gordon Bingham

    Great series of books – also enjoy the Netflix series.

  23. John Monahan

    I’m really looking forward to reading this. Hopefully it’ll be my own copy.

  24. Michael Carter

    I would love to win this.
    Yes, please enter me in this sweepstakes.
    Thanks —

  25. John Smith

    Sounds great!

  26. lasvegasnv


  27. shellymccann
  28. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  29. JohnOB

    My wife and I both look forward to each new Longmire, and the occasional short ones are special.

  30. John OBrien

    We both enjoy this series, and hope there are many more to come.

  31. David Bross

    Love all Craig’s books and the show!

  32. Janice

    Sounds like a really interesting story, one I’d really enjoy reading.

  33. HeatherL

    Love the books and the tv series!

  34. Sandra Furlotte

    The Longmire books are absolutely wonderful. I look forward to each and every one.

  35. Ronald Roseborough

    Longmire is my favoritebook series. Please include me in the contest.

  36. Dan Carr

    I’ve never read him, but would like to.

  37. bill norris

    loved the show but have ye to see the netflix episodes and would love to read the stories.

  38. Louis Burklow

    I’m always happy to learn of the publication of a new Walt Longmire book. This one looks great and I’m looking forward to reading it soon.

  39. Ellen

    I love the Longmire books and the author’s signings are a hoot.

  40. Nancy Lane

    Can’t bring myself to watch the show, how could it possible be as good as the books. BEAR ROCKS!

  41. Phil Lemons

    Great start to what I’m sure will be another great read. Like Parker and Crais, Johnson breathes such life into his characters, it is as much a pleasure to follow the conversations as the mystery. Always a joy to read.

  42. Elizabeth

    I haven’t read this series yet, but a former coworker recommended it to me. His recommendations have never been wrong. He also said that the books are so well written that I don’t need to read them in order. So this would be a good start. Then I’ll start watching the TV series.

  43. Fred Gillis

    Count me in.

  44. vicki wurgler

    my husband and I loved watching this show on TV

  45. Kyle Johnicker

    Great characters and always excellent storytelling!

  46. Saundra K. Warren

    I just love the books and the show!!

  47. Pauline Barlow

    This is a new series for me and will try to read these. I didn’t know about the TV series either.

  48. Jeana

    I didn’t realize there was a book series! I’ll have to check them out.

  49. Barbara Fish

    The Longmire books are totally addictive. I would love to win this one.

  50. SallyW

    Always a good series to read and enjoy.

  51. Mark McCutcheon

    Haven’t been aware of the series. This excerpt shows nice descriptive flair. Spent some time on Google Maps trying to decide at which curve on I24 they were studying the road – really would like to read more!

  52. Virginia Campbell

    It’s “An Obvious Fact” that Craig Johnson is a wonderful storyteller, and I am addicted to LONGMIRE!!! Would love to win a copy to add to my LONGMIRE LIBRARY!!!

  53. Jean Dickinson

    First watched the series on dvd Then started reading his books. His writing style reminds me of R.B.Parker…lots of dialog and not too much descriptive narrative to get through. Would love to win Craig Johnson’s latest “An Obvious Fact”…thanx for the excerpt.

  54. Marisa Young

    Love this series. I can’t wait to read this book.

Comments are closed.