For as long as I've known Jen Forbus she's been raving about Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire books. But, Jen's reading is sometimes much darker than mine. So, I went to hear Johnson speak at the Tucson Festival of Books, and I'm planning to go to the Poisoned Pen when he's there on June 12 to discuss his new book, Junkyard Dogs. I finally just put aside all of the books on my TBR pile, and went back to read The Cold Dish, Johnson's first book.
Walt Longmire, Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, is still suffering four years after the death of his wife. He hasn't moved on emotionally from it, and he hasn't moved on from a case he handled. Melissa Little Bird, a Cheyenne girl with fetal alcohol syndrome, was gang raped, and four young men were tried for it. Their suspended sentences stirred up anger in the community, including with Walt. Now, when the body of one of those young men is found, shot to death, Walt has to wonder if it's connected to Melissa's rape.
The more Walt investigates, the more he realizes it would have taken an extraordinary marksman to kill that young man. And, as he asks questions, Walt realizes the short list of capable shooters includes his best friend, Henry Standing Bear. And, one of those marksmen may have targeted the other three men from the Melissa Little Bird case.
Craig Johnson's Sheriff Walt Longmire is an extraordinary man. He has his weaknesses. He can be a slob; he isolates himself, drinks too much, and he's moody. He also brings a lifetime of experience to this investigation, first as an MP in the Marines in Vietnam, then as a deputy, and finally sheriff. But, his wisdom and strength when he needs it is unbelievable. And, he has a wonderful, sometimes warped, sense of humor.
Johnson's characters are vividly portrayed, from Walt to Henry Standing Bear and Walt's deputy, Victoria Moretti. The Cold Dish brings that Wyoming country to life in a gripping story. I'll be reading the rest of the series. I'm looking forward to reading more about Walt. (Love his humor!) Thanks, Jen!
Craig Johnson's website is www.craigallenjohnson.com
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. Viking, ©2004. ISBN 9780670033690 (hardcover), 384p.
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