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Here's a great list from Culturess: "Scary Women: 13 Female Horror Writers You Should Read."

Today I'd like to share another book recommendation. I fell in love with author Craig Johnson's Longmire stories through the outstanding television series Longmire, and then (with the encouragement of ankh_hpl) I followed those stories back to their inspiration, the award-winning Longmire series of novels. They are part contemporary Westerns, part mysteries, part police procedurals, and part other genres, depending on the specific book. Due to the long character and plot arcs, I usually recommend that readers encounter the novels in their published order.

This year, however, we received a special treat: a stand-alone Gothic ghost story. No prior knowledge of the Longmire series is necessary. The Highwayman is a haunting, atmospheric little novella that is made for the Halloween season.

Here's the premise: when Wyoming Highway Patrolman Rosey Wayman is transferred to the Wind River Canyon territory, she begins receiving repeated radio calls from her colleague Bobby Womack, each at the same time in the dead of night, reporting an officer needing assistance. But how exactly can she assist him, when Bobby died decades earlier? Or is he calling Rosey to say that she is the one in need of help? This tale is about legend and history and memory, the stories we tell ourselves and the truths that haunt us.

I'll leave you with a short excerpt. In this scene, Sheriff Walt Longmire has asked a retired state trooper if he has heard any unusual stories about his fellow trooper, the late Bobby Womack.

"Then there was this hitchhiker, hippie kid out of Benicia, California, who was heading north and got picked up by a trooper in the canyon really early one morning and said he gave him a ride all the way up to Canyon Hills Road and dropped him off. The kid wanted to buy him a meal to thank him, but the trooper said there was something he had to take care of but if the kid wanted to buy him lunch, he knew a place and would meet him at the end of the road in about an hour."


"The kid does what the trooper tells him to do and goes out to the end of Canyon Hills."


"There's nothing out there but Monument Hill Cemetery."

I didn't say anything.

"Where Bobby is buried."

I rested the Red Ryder in my lap for lack of targets. "You ever have anything strange happen to you?"

He thought about it for a while... "Back in 2000, WYDOT was painting the center strips, and we had to ride along in front of them, straddling the line so some idiot didn't come around a corner and run into their trucks. Well, I'm pulling the duty, and we stop at the Tipi Camp about halfway for lunch, and one of the crew comes up and asks me to say something to the trooper who's running behind us. According to this guy, he's got his windows down and has been playing the same song over and over and would I please do something about it."

I sipped my beer. "And?"

"Well, I tell this idiot that there isn't any other trooper, that I'm the only one on duty in the canyon, but he keeps complaining, so we walk back there and of course there's no patrol car. Now, normally I would've just let it drop, but I was curious, so I asked him what song it was."


"Said it was that old Rolling Stones tune 'It's All Over Now,' and that he must've heard it about forty-seven times."


"You know who wrote that song?"


"Bobby's namesake -- Bobby Womack."


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 18th, 2016 11:49 am (UTC)
I love the Longmire series but this novella was a special creepy treat. Definitely suited to the Halloween season! It is one I'll reread several times and get goosebumps each time. Great choice for your countdown!
Oct. 19th, 2016 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad to hear you liked it too. I agree with you about rereading this one!
Oct. 18th, 2016 01:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Halloween Countdown Day 18
Thanks for the link to scary women writers!

The Highwayman reads chillingly!
Oct. 19th, 2016 09:46 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Halloween Countdown Day 18
My pleasure!

I think it's wonderfully spooky. I'm so glad you liked this excerpt!
Abbie Culbertson
Oct. 18th, 2016 01:56 pm (UTC)
Oct. 19th, 2016 09:47 pm (UTC)
Oct. 18th, 2016 07:27 pm (UTC)
Yay for keeping Wyoming weird! Thanks for letting us know this one is a standalone.
Oct. 19th, 2016 09:48 pm (UTC)
Woohoo for weird Wyoming! :)
Oct. 19th, 2016 12:42 pm (UTC)
Regarding Shirley Jackson, there was a time when I confused her Haunting of Hill House with the William Castle film House on Haunted Hill. You can hardly blame me, as the titles are so similar and their plots resemble each other enough that it could be a case of Adaptation Decay. Thing is, both came out in 1959. So unless Castle rooted through Jackson's trash or vice versa, it's just a really odd coincidence.

Don't know if you had any horror hosts when you were growing up. Here in Virginia, we've had quite a few over the years. A couple of years ago, the Science Museum of Virginia hosted a monster movie trivia challenge with four different horror hosts (Bowman Body, Dr. Madblood, Dr. Gruesome and Skeeter, and Armistead Spottswoode) as contestants.


Edited at 2016-10-19 12:43 pm (UTC)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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