The day before Christmas finds Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County, Wyo., at loose ends, until a ghost from the past brings back long-forgotten memories. Johnson's Walt Longmire mysteries are the basis for an A&E drama series.
When a young woman walks into Walt’s office and asks about his predecessor, Walt can’t recall meeting her. But he’s willing to take her out to the assisted living facility where irascible former sheriff Lucian Connally is well into a bottle of bourbon. Lucian claims not to remember her either until she says “Steamboat,” a word that instantly transports them all back to the same day in 1988. A bad accident has left only one badly burned survivor, a young girl who will surely die unless she can be transported to Denver. A Life Flight helicopter has picked her up, but a vicious storm forces it to land at the local airport, where everyone says there are no planes that can make it to Denver in such a storm. Walt has a different idea. He drags Lucian away from a poker game and out to the airport, where he’s introduced to Steamboat, a rickety World War II bomber named after a famous bucking horse, very similar to the bomber Lucian flew over Japan. Neither the EMT nor the helicopter pilot will risk their lives. So Lucian, Walt, the local doctor, a female pilot with very little experience on large aircraft, the child, Amaterasu, and her grandmother take off on a flight that has little chance of success.
Unlike Walt’s usual adventures (A Serpent’s Tooth, 2013, etc.), this novella shuns mystery for a wild and dangerous adventure that will leave you both touched and breathless.