Posts Tagged With: Longmire

Longmire Season Finale – or Wha Happened?

Beware – does contain spoilers but if you’ve seen it you’ll know and if you haven’t you might thank me.

Lets just say this loyal viewer is less than pleased. What happened? It’s a good show – or was – based on terrific books. And we waited all season for that? Seriously? Ugh. Without further ado:

I only do this because A) i’m insane and B) i love the books and liked the first season. Here are a few of the things they got wrong tonight:
1) Ed Gorski (the alleged assault victim): Doctors attending his injuries would have collected evidence in the process – nail clippings, clothes would have been impounded and trace collected. No big deal that’s a gimme.
2) Suicide victim – any cop – particularly ones we’ve actually seen on the show investigating numerous murders would know there is not enough blood or tissue at the scene to suggest that he actually did what the video purported him doing (shooting himself at point blank range).
3) Cady Longmire is an ATTORNEY for the love of god. Read your own character bios. Do you really think she’d just stand there holding the warrant like, ‘duh, hey look folks. It’s a warrant. They can look at anything they want.’ No. I’m going to guess she’d make them all stand on the porch until she finished reading every last bit of it and then watched every thing they searched.
4) A Martinez character stating ‘no crime had been committed’ in reference to the suicide victim whose body he was alleged to have burned. Congrats, dude. You actually JUST committed a crime. Until a coroner signs off and releases the body THE GUY AIN’T DEAD. So Branch could have arrested him for destruction of evidence and a number of other things.
5) Why did Vic’s character completely change in the last two episodes?
6) The cop making the trip from Denver based on THAT evidence? You’re kidding right? You have the testimony of a meth-head and absolutely no physical evidence whatsoever.
7) SPEAKING of that evidence. Congrat’s Charles Dutton. The only piece of physical evidence you actually did have you pulled unwrapped and unmarked out of the pocket of your coat and dumped on the Sheriff’s desk without picking them up again. So, guess what? You DON’T HAVE THAT EVIDENCE ANYMORE. Even if Walt didn’t dump them over when he flipped over his desk for no damned reason whatsoever they are now inadmissible because A) you apparently forgot to tag them when you apparently forgot to log them and B) you dumped them kit and kaboodle out on the desk. And C) don’t freaking tell me you got a match. How? Did you fly the technician up from Denver with you? Did you borrow the local dentist (who would then have to be flown back to Denver to testify) Did you make a comparison based on your own experience in forensic dentistry.

Clearly i am no fun to watch television with.

But why? Why screw it up so bad? Are you trying to commit television Hari Kari? Were you in such a hurry to put it in the can that you forgot reason and common sense? Were you relying on viewers not to care or notice? What happened? Honestly? Did your police consultants all suddenly quit? Did your writers suddenly get a stomach flu and left the scribbling up to the producers? Did studio execs hire gaffers to stage an armed coup of the set? Did studio execs threaten to blow up your dog? What? Didn’t anyone anywhere stop and say “hey, you know what? This whole script doesn’t work AT ALL. We might as well have unicorns stab Longmire’s wife for as much sense as we’re making here.”

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More Longmire – or what i’ve been doing with myself for two weeks.

Well yes. You’re right. It’s been a while. Sorry about the lapse. Let me tell you something about gluten allergies that are undiagnosed: they will drive you absolutely crazy. I mean really. I’ve been losing my mind. Just a bundle of anxiety. In terms of standard neurosis, Woody Allen has nothing on me right now.

But that’s not the only reason for my absence. Here are a few of the choicest excuses for my laxity: Independence day. (truth be told i did NOTHING on independence day. I sat and read all day i think.) then LAST Thursday i was running to purchase a giant fluffy dolphin at the zoo. Not all day. My health is not great and if i tried such a feat i would actually be dead. Let’s see… there’s the ever popular Zombies ate my blog. Hmmm… rapid rabid rabbits ruined my rudder? 

Pick one. 

The fact of the matter is i’ve been on a Longmire kick. Remember my last blog about Craig Johnson’s Longmire series? Well… admittedly, it was a bit more of a contrasting the show with the books. Since then i’ve read three other Longmire book and am currently halfway through the fifth. I slowed down this week a little because i was having panic attacks. by all rights i should be finished with the fifth book and on to the sixth by now but i had to stop off and chat with you folks. 

Honestly, i can’t stop reading this stuff. It’s like crack. I remember finishing book three of Harry Potter and getting on my bike (lived in the city so i didn’t have a car at the time) and i biked my way to the book store that same night and was 200 pages in before i managed to finally turn out the light. Longmire is like that. But shorter. 

Like i’ve been saying (if you’ve been listening) Johnson does what many mystery writers don’t. He goes for the literary. The stories are driven entirely by the characters. He never uses ‘he said’. He hooks you with the dialog and it’s not just the dialog – read it close – each character has their own unique pattern of speech, their own unique and loving mannerisms that you come to and just sigh happily when they show up: Vic putting her boots up on the desk, Lucian’s ruthless butchering of ethnic names, Saizarbitoria’s affability, Henry’s inability to use a conjunction, Longmire’s random literary references. It’s a feast. A feast i tell you! For a guy whose bread now tastes like compressed sawdust, i am desperately in need of a feast.

On the downside to this feast, i curse Johnson every damned time his characters go into the Busy Bee for ‘the usual’. Johnson – you rotten bastard. Can you have Dorothy cook up some gluten free something? Just once? Maybe for Cady when she comes to visit? Please? 

If you’re a mystery fan… Nay. If you are a mystery fan who still loves Raymond Chandler as well as your Shakespeare, your Brontes, your Austen, your Hemingway, SPRINT to the bookstore and pick up the lot of them. 

Oh yeah. Hardcopy baby. I think i mentioned that in the last blog too. Well… i liked the first book so much i went back and purchased it in hardcover when i picked up the second book. It helped that my Mom had a battery accident with her ‘book’. It was excellent motivation. 

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, all this Longmire reading (not to mention the nearly constant worry over my own state of health) has put a damper on my own literary pursuits. But fear not, those of you who haven’t read my Meg Brown Stories. I am going to be back at it soon. I hit the doctors today and got a relatively clean bill of health (in spite of the gluten crap that is). Really, i just needed some peace of mind. Hey… that’s the title of one of the Meg Brown stories… No it wasn’t intentional. Yesitwas. 

That said i am a little stuck in the Meg story right now. I’ll get it cleared out once i can string a few days of writing together without losing my mind. It won’t be today though. It’s already late and this writer has to get back to his book readin. I’m on page 137 of The Dark Horse if you’re following along. 

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Longmire – The Cold Dish

ar124708363646529I know. I’ve already talked about this on an earlier Blog. But I’m getting close to finishing it and I honestly can’t wait to download or even buy the next one. First, let me let you in on a little secret: I’m not a downloadable books fan. Don’t all gasp at once. I know I publish on digital and all that but really, my big signal of ultimate triumph will be when I stop into the local bookstore (if there are such things in the future) and am able to pick up a copy of my own book. I’ve resigned myself to downloading because my bookshelves just can’t take anymore. I don’t have many bookshelves to begin with, and the ones I do have hate me. Thus, every once in a while I download a book rather than buying it.

That is, unless it’s something I really like.

The Cold Dish is one of those I wish I’d bought from the book store.

You might have seen the show. It’s a terrific show, really. The plot and the stories are something, the scenery is amazing, but the acting is terrific. You might have read the blog post I put up a while ago that had something to do with acting. I don’t want to rehash it. But basically you know when an actor has really slipped into the skin of someone else. You can see it. They know how to blink in character. Longmire is one of those shows where you really feel like they know their business and I’m hooked.

But that doesn’t tell you much about the book. The book is a different critter altogether. It’s the rare gift of a mystery/thriller that is as pretty to read as it is compelling. It’s exactly the sort of thing I’ve been searching for with the sort of scintillating paragraphs and sentences that make you believe that Genre can be art. Too often we resign ourselves to the mediocre and fun. Don’t get me wrong. It is fun. But it’s also very well written and delivered with the sort of attention to detail that makes me sing with envy. Craig Johnson knows his subject and just the right (write?) english to put on it to make it sound practically perfect:

He had opened the passenger-side door, and i was looking through the holes in the floorboards at the melting snow. Part of the dashboard was turquoise, part of it was white, and the large mic of an antiquated citizens’ band radio was bolted to the front edge over the shift lever. There was a shifter; a transfer-case lever; a worn, white steering wheel; and an unending number of chrome handles and knobs guaranteed to dislocate, jab, or stove anything that might come in contact. Most of the windows were cracked, and there were no seat belts. At the top of the antenna, even though there was no radio, perched a little, dirty-white Styrofoam ball that read CAPTAIN AMERICA. “It’s gonna break down.”

“It is not going to break down. Get in, I am getting cold.”

His breath was clouding inside of the glass, and i looked down at the heater box, which was taped together with duct tape. “As i recall, the heater in this thing, among other things, doesn’t work.”

I don’t know that I’ve ever read a more gorgeous description of a truck on its last legs in my life. It’s the sort of thing that I take as a personal challenge and I love it. From a strictly writing perspective, it’s like slipping on an old, well-oiled, baseball glove and finding it still fits at the exact moment someone drops a battered baseball into it. See? It’s intoxicating. It makes you want to write, and write better. And that’s nothing compared to the description of the Cheyenne Haunted Death Gun: A Sharps rifle from a hundred years ago that is haunted and reappears a number of times throughout the book in just beautiful ways.

So.

You can sit there on the sofa and watch Longmire – and I recommend you do – or you can read the poetry of it. For me, the words are every bit as beautiful as the mythical landscape they inhabit; particularly considering the show is actually filmed in New Mexico and not Wyoming.

Johnson’s characters are vivid and expertly wrought. Again, I just stagger at the skill in creating these beasts, men, indians, italian smart mouthed Philadelphia cops. I curse him for writing them so well. I study the pages. I soak it in like good poetry or the crisp warm air of the Montana fly stream I once fished on. Yeah. That’s right, Johnson. I curse you. I shake my fist. You bastard. You’ve got me hooked.

The literary Longmire is a much more wry, self-deprecating character than the tough old sod you see on the show and it’s better for it. Robert Taylor does a terrific job on the show – it’s in the eyes; the way they aren’t always certain, the way they try – and sometimes fail – at looking like the strong hardened law man. It’s his way at reaching through the script to the soft, somewhat floundering Longmire of the novel and I appreciate it. But I have to admit I love the interior thoughts of the literary character, dubious, skeptical, funny, and capable in spite of himself. He’s a modern western law man and Craig Johnson doesn’t skimp on the thing that I find irresistible in a Mystery: humor. If you’ve read any of the Meg stories you know I can’t really live without it and find it sorely lacking in way too much of it.

Katee Sackhoff (who I confess I loved as Starbuck in BSG) is a true gem here. I’ve got to say, in spite of the radical change in hair color – she nails Vic Moretti. Somehow, though, because her character is a little more in the background of this novel she makes even more of an impact. I could go on and on. I should stop somewhere. I don’t want to. I want to buy a copy of this book for every brave soul who’s weathered the storms of the blogosphere and made it this far. But I can’t. Cuz I’m poor. Buy more copies of my Meg series and maybe I’ll give out a free copy of Craig Johnson’s The Cold Dish.

That’s it in a nutshell. Go read this book. Do what I did – pour yourself through the entire first season on Netflix and then read this book. Read it. Now. And then – when you’re all done – drive out west to the Beartooth mountains to a little place named Cameron, Montana. There you will find a bar. Leave five dollars on the bar and tell them i owe them. Head one more mile west, hang a Left and take the road till you get to the Lee Metcalf wilderness area. Head up the creek and don’t get eaten by a bear. Read the next book in the series there.

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The Strange Case of the Author on the TV. – Baldacci and Johnson go to the small screen.

Hey, all. Sorry I biffed last thursday. You know how it is. Or maybe you don’t. I think I got home from work, parked my butt on the couch in front of the thursday crime shows – whatever they were – and shoved down that weird sensation that there was something else I was supposed to be doing. It wasn’t until friday that I figured it out. See? That’s what happens when you get out of practice. You get slow and stupid.

Before we get to the writing portion of things let’s do the usual roundup. Two little things: I just checked out King and Maxwell on TNT. Little did I know when I started it that it was from the mind of David Baldacci. I’ve read very little of Baldacci. Two books, I think, though I couldn’t tell you what they are. I’m pretty sure I used to heap scorn on them but I’ve had it on very reliable authority that they are a lot of fun. I have to admit I saw some promise for King and Maxwell so long as the viewer is keen on throwing the reality out with the bathwater, kicking back and enjoying a little intrigue and thriller with their standard crime tropes. The characters could use a little development, in my opinion. So far they’re a little underwelming. Maxwell takes a boat to work. King is a bit of a slob. That’s about as much as you get of them, which says to me that the actors and possibly the writers haven’t really committed to the idea of this whole thing working at all.

Honestly I think that is – or was – my critique of Baldacci too. They might be fun but they are a little thin. But then again, there’s that reliable authority too that’s picking at me to give it another chance and I think I may just do it. We’ll see how well it shakes out. I’m good with fun, until some genius decides they can take it a level further and try to make something respectable out of it which usually doesn’t work so well. But hey. I’ll cut them some slack because the show JUST started.

That said, Longmire on A&E based on the books of Craig Johnson. Now that one you should be checking out. I just started reading the first of the Longmire novels after soaking myself neck-deep in the first season (yeah – it was my first binge watch! Yay me!) So far the book is VERY different from the series but i have to admit I like them both a lot. Johnson has a style all his own with brilliant paragraphs, terrifically descriptive sentences that sing and fully realized characters that jump off the page. (I think I’m on Chapter 2) These are the sort of mysteries that are a true pleasure to read. It engages the language. That’s one of the things I LOVE about the mystery genre: finding authors who have a unique voice that don’t skimp on the details in favor of the zippy blood and guts whodunit.

I don’t want to gush too much because i just started but I’m going to jump forward and give the recommendation now. It’s good.

The TV series, like I said, is different but it has its own language too and very well-developed characters with a cast well suited to them. Not to mention it’s awful pretty to look at. Walt Longmire’s battle worn hat and coat, Ferg’s irrepressible earnestness, Henry’s sardonic wisdom – it’s all present and well wrought though not even close to being a reproduction of the stories.

The episodes ain’t bad either. They cram a lot of pretty fine sleuthing into an hour with a fairly well trodden plot arc covering it all that still somehow seems fresh. Even though it isn’t.

In the meantime, I’m still busy working too hard on my own little mysteries – Meg Brown #6 (obviously not the final title) is… well… growing. I’m still typing in the second draft. No idea really on when it will be ready. I’m shooting for release later this year yet, but hopefully not too much later. You can, of course, find the others on Amazon. Here.

I’ve also been a little obsessed with my new (but still old) procedural experiment. So I’ve been plinking away at that one too. Giving it a day a week while I’m still cranking out the Meg pages.

Here’s the thing, though: I need a writers conference. If anyone out there is actually checking in with this regularly and you have some suggestions on writing conferences – particularly ones dealing with mystery writing – I’d be happy to hear about it. Please let me know.

And while we’re at it and asking questions and such: what sort of thing would you like this blog to focus on? I’m really open to suggestions. Anything you can think of from a mystery writing perspective, Crime TV Criticism, writing in general, whatever. Let me know. Usually I get to thursday and I’m scratching my head at what I’m going to write about. I’d much rather start planning next weeks excursion as soon as this weeks is done. Just let me know.

Anyway. If you are into writing mysteries yourself and have been here once or twice you know I’m a huge fan of Derek Pacifico’s Writer’s Homicide School that I attended in LA last year so I have a few plugs to mention on that. It seems he just wrapped up another one in LA (I was not in attendance unfortunately) but there’s another one in Seattle August 17-18, Vegas in September 21-22, and Atlanta in October 19-20. If you’re interested in getting the real goods from a real cop, you need to attend and you should go straight to the website and take advantage of the early registration. Pacifico is a terrific instructor and it really is a terrific course that can help the sleuthing writer write better or at least avoid a few of the major mistakes we all find so damned annoying when we see them on TV for the billionth time.

Well that’s all I’ve got today. I know it’s not really earth-shattering. I swear I will have something actually PLANNED for next time. Seriously. Especially if y’all help out and add your two cents.

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