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Book review: 'The Spirit of Steamboat' is a sweet Christmas story from the heart of Wyoming

Editor's note: These recently released Christmas books include nonfiction and fiction, historical and contemporary, romance and history and each carries with the spirit of the season.

"SPIRIT OF STEAMBOAT: A Walt Longmire Story," by Craig Johnson, Viking, $20, 146 pages (f)

A new novella by best-selling author Craig Johnson begins on Christmas Eve. Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire is in his office reading his treasured copy of "A Christmas Carol" when he is visited by a young woman with questions about Longmire's predecessor, Lucian Conalley.

After finding out Conalley is still alive and living in a local nursing home, the young woman begs Longmire to take her to visit the old sheriff. When Longmire agrees and takes the woman to pay a visit to his old friend, he learns about the connection that links all three of them to a Christmas Eve long ago.

"The Spirit of Steamboat" is a sweet story about redemption and the opportunities life gives us to pay back past debts.

As usual, Johnson mixes a good story with his Western brand of wit and wisdom. His characters are colorful and seem to reflect the personality of the small-town Wyoming author.

Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyo. His mystery novels featuring Longmire are now a hit television series on A&E.

Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah-based data collection company. He currently serves as vice president of sales. He spends his free time writing and practicing photography. He also enjoys spending time outdoors.