New York Times bestselling author Craig Johnson will lead presentation at library Wednesday

Audrey Dwyer
Craig Johnson is the author of the Longmire series of mystery novels, which is based on a local sheriff, Walt Longmire. Johnson has received numerous awards and recognition for his novels and is a familiar name on the New York Times bestseller list. His series is also the basis of the A&E TV series "Longmire," which is now shown on Netflix.
Courtesy Photo

If You Go...

What: Library Author Series presents: Craig Johnson

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9

Where: Library Hall, Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.

— When Craig Johnson wrote “The Cold Dish,” which was published in 2004, he had no idea the novel would turn into a series of 12 books.

And to this day, he sees no end in sight.

Quite the opposite actually. Ever since the release of that first Walt Longmire mystery novel, Johnson has received numerous awards and has captured a recurring spot on the list of the New York Times bestseller list.

In 2012, the A&E series “Longmire” — based on his novels — premiered and is now a Netflix series. On Thursday, the fourth season of the show will premiere on Netflix.

The popular author will be at the Bud Werner Memorial Library at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday for a free presentation as part of the Library Author Series.

“Craig is a straight-talking cowboy kind of author from Wyoming,” said Jennie Lay, the library’s adult programs coordinator. “He is also a national New York Times bestseller. With a focus on mysteries, his talk continues to stretch the breadth of the Library Author Series, where we are lucky to hear from so many different kinds of incredible storytellers. This is going to be a really fun evening for Walt Longmire fans — and will undoubtedly attract many new admirers in the process.”

Hailing from Buffalo, Wyoming, population 25, Johnson said the premise for his stories came from living a semi-remote life in the western part of the U.S. It all started when he ran into an investigator in town and he began to research and develop intriguing, relatable characters for his series of books.

“Part of the fun is doing the research. You never know quite where the story will go,” Johnson said. “You can explore with each novel.”

The series of books detailing Longmire’s adventures are told from the sheriff’s perspective with a bit of humor as he investigates major crimes within his jurisdiction with plot twists and turns.

“Walt is a fun character to spend time with,” Johnson said. “He is funny and good hearted, qualities that are sometimes missing in modern society. He is different than most protagonists who are 6-foot tall, have that steel and sex appeal. Walt is basically overweight, overly depressed but yet he still gets up to do his job every morning.”

Humor and crime are not always associated with one another but Johnson said it’s something that resonates within his novels.

“So many crime mystery novels are so serious,” Johnson said. “But a lot of cops will say that the only way you can make it through a tough day is a sense of humor.”

In the television series, developed by John Coveny and Hunt Baldwin, Johnson said each show is based on various pieces from the books. Looking back, Johnson said he never would have thought his book would become published by a major publisher nor did he believe that his book would be the premise for a television show.

“I think he has a lot of fans here because his stories have these descriptions of things about the mountains and living out west that make you think you are walking right through those mountains or prairie areas,” said Gerry Denofsky, a local fan of Johnson’s series. “How he describes the scenery is something that we are all familiar with here and can relate to.”

At the library talk, Johnson said he will answer questions from the audience and chat about the series.

For those interested in reading his books or seeing the television series, the library will have his books and DVDs of the show available for people to check out. Off the Beaten Path will also be selling books on site for Johnson to sign at the event.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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