Quirky Books: The Highway Man by Craig Johnson

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Highway Man by Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson is a popular mystery writer. Born in 1961, he is a modern contemporary artist who lives in a small Wyoming town. The Highway Man is part of a series, the Longmire Mysteries, that was picked up by Warner Brothers. It became a television series.

An intriguing tale of intertwining fates, there are several references to religious and poetic verse. Unknown to many people, during modern times, the highway man plays a role through many developments of ghosts stories as far back as the Canterbury Tales of the 1300s. Traditionally, it alludes to the four horsemen. The most obvious associations are on pages 33 and 70 when the deputy encounters a person marked for death. They are angry and overly aggressive.

There is also a poem entitled the Highway Man. It is written by Alfred Noyes in 1906. Someone might think these are unrelated; however, Johnson reasserts an association. Taking place on the Wind River Reservation, the ghouls are most prevalent as the moon ascends over the winding highway across the open land. This is essentially the first stanza of the poem.

I enjoy fictional stories that use foundations in philosophy or nonfiction to build a fictional world. It creates a bias to form a hidden platform of thought while reading the novel. When it is a mystery, it is like having a cheat card. The interesting twist occurs with new insight on how the author interprets the prior works into a new, hypothetical turn of events.

It is a reflection on modern events. Realistically, many of these ongoing (without giving away the end) have been going on for a long time. Kept to isolated events, it is another chapter. What if it was regular life? That could be the end. Faced with misery, life would be a hallow. The great suffering of mankind could develop as more people surrender their afterlife of vengeance.

There was a surprise ending. With the use of supernatural leanings, I was wondering if there is a character to blame for any events. Once again Investigator Walt Longmire solves the case. I enjoy the ghost of Bobby Womack. On page 48, he assists a hitchhiker. It is different, yet similar to the traditional ghosts who excel the position of becoming the highway man. He still has style and an amount of grace. There is still something iffy and undermining about his character.

Mystery and occult buffs will enjoy this book. Theologians will also delight in the subplot. If you like horror, there might be an uneasy sensation.

Poetry Breakdown
The Highway Man by Alfredo Noyes

Related Article
The Shield and Sword
Traditional Highway Man