Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

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.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

20 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds dark but interesting! And as soon as I read the title, I wondered if it were about revenge...always an interesting topic for me. :)

Jen Forbus said...

Lesa you've made me smile this morning. So glad you enjoyed Walt Longmire and crew. I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think about the rest of the series, especially my favorite - but I won't tell you which it is until you've read it!

Lesa said...

It's terrific, Elizabeth. Jen didn't steer me wrong.

Lesa said...

I told Elizabeth you didn't steer me wrong, Jen. Thank you. I'm definitely planning to go see Craig on June 12th. I have it in my app't book. And, I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

le0pard13 said...

Jen reeled me into Craig Johnson's realm with the exact same book, Lesa. I must say, too, that George Guidall expertly handles the audiobook narration for this series. He's simply magnificent in his readings on this. If you want to try the audio format, doing a Craig Johnson novel would be a great place to start. Thanks, Lesa.

raineybird said...

So glad I stopped in today. I just read The Cold Dish in April. And am also hooked for the rest in the series. My family has the same "DRY" sense of humor. Thanks Lesa for having a first in the series here, often when I see a New book for an author I like to read the first couple in their series while waiting for the latest to come in to my library.

Naomi Johnson said...

Welcome to the crowd of people Jen has turned into Longmire addicts. And in turn, I've done my part to hook others. Johnson creates wonderful characters that are easy to care about. And listening to Johnson when he talks about his work is just as much fun as reading it.

Lesa said...

Well, Michael, turnabout is fair play. I turned Jen onto Chris Grabenstein's Ceepak series. Now, I'll have to read all of these. And, I have the Don Winslow books here to read. He's gong to be coming to the Poisoned Pen later this summer, so I want to be ready. Let's see if you can do as good a job with my reading taste as Jen did.

Jen Forbus said...

And Louise Penny! :-)

Lesa said...

You're welcome, raineybird. If I can start off with the first in a series, I will. I like to see the development of characters, and the author, over the course of a series. Thanks for stopping by today. I think I'm going to be very happy with Walt.

Lesa said...

Naomi,

I enjoyed hearing Craig Johnson when I was in Tucson even though I hadn't read the books. I hope to have read a couple more before he appears at the Poisoned Pen, but I don't know if I'll get a chance. At least I've "met" Walt and the other characters.

Lesa said...

Louise Penny, too, Jen? I had forgotten that. Well, I've done you the favors of a lifetime, haven't I, with Grabenstein and Penny? (grin) Just look what you owe me!

Cathy said...

Jen's not the only one who's raved about Craig Johnson. I'm so glad you've finally met Walt and the others!

Lesa said...

Thanks, Cathy. Yes, but Jen's the one who absolutely idolizes him. (grin)

Cathy said...

You've got a point there, Lesa. It might be my age speaking, but it's been a long, long time since I've idolized anyone.

Lesa said...

Probably our age, Cathy. We've seen too many flaws in those idols. Although, I have to admit, I knew most of the flaws when I loved Johnny Cash. I still watch anything that comes on TV about him.

Kay said...

Lesa, I'm so glad you read a Walt Longmire book! I absolutely love, love, love this series. I read the first one with my mystery group and even hooked the member who only really likes English mysteries. It was quite a surprise! I have been holding one book back until Junkyard Dogs publishes because I can't bear to not have another Walt book available for reading when I get the hankering! Craig Johnson is a fabulous author in my book.

Of course, so are Chris Grabenstein and Louise Penny. Sigh. I love mysteries. :-)

Lesa said...

Me, too, Kay. Mysteries so much more than thrillers. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Walt Longmire books, and seeing Craig Johnson next Saturday.

Jen Forbus said...

Favors of a lifetime is an understatement Lesa! :-)

Lesa said...

Ah, Jen! And, I was really just kidding.