This was the best "new read" I've had in a long, long time. The story was so well woven with native folklore and a good old fashioned mystery, with some spine tingling action. It kept me in rapt attention the entire time. I liked it so well that I am burning it to CD (12 of them) so my husband can "read" it as well. I have all three of this author's audio books, and I recommend listening to them in order. "The Cold Dish" first, then "Death without Company" and finally "Kindness Goes Unpunished".
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
After watching Longmire on tv, thought I'd listen to the crusty old sheriff solve a case on audio . . . wow! My husband and I loved Cold Dish . . . and as much as we love the series on tv, some of the imagery is missed, some of the nuance, some of the inner workings of Walt's mind . . . be warned the language is colorful, especially where Vic (Victoria) is concerned, Walt's deputy sheriff . . . This first in the Longmire series, explores Walt's friendship with Henry Standing Bear, owner of the Red Pony Saloon, going back to the friends' younger days and being drafted to serve he Vietnam war. As Walt searches for the killer of a young man, the same one that two years earlier brutally raped a young, Indian girl suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome, things are not as they seem . . . and why does the killer leave one solitary feather at the crime scene?
I originally stopped reading this book because the crime at the center of the plot is one of my "triggers". I enjoyed the new book of Walt Longmire short stories so much I went back to this one. If I had continued when I first started listening, I would have found that in this book the rape victim is not just a plot point to intensify interest. She is actually supported and healed by her family and culture. It is also noted that bad things happen when victims are not given support and a chance to heal.
Good books seem to be written in layers so well composed that they are invisible to the reader, but well enough defined that readers can argue about what the book is about and every person is correct. This is a good book.
The plot, characters, and setting are all fascinating and not because the author says they are. He simply describes what Walt Longmire sees from his back deck. He tells us what, his friend "The Bear" does and says, he describes the way people look. The reader is drawn into the book.
For example we are not told that Walt Longmire although far from perfect is good man. When the book opens, with the exception of doing his job, he is frozen in place after the loss of his wife. Henry Standing Bear, known as The Bear, checks on him, pushes him gently and not gently out of his himself. The listener understands Henry would not waste his time if he did not think Longmire is worth his time. He is also worth the time of everyone who knows him. His friends and coworkers are aggravated with him, worried about him, and concerned. No one is really contemptuous, everyone is respectful, and never once does the author have to say this is a strong man having a bad time. Readers appreciate being trusted to understand things from the context of the story. Only really good writers can do this well.
Which leads me to the plot. Everyone I know who loves this book, loves it for the logical, intelligent plot. My own best friend says there is no need to suspend disbelief, because there are no elements here, that are not found in criminal defense lawyers briefs. She should know.
Craig Johnson is an undiscovered jewel! Folks, this author is gifted and fairly unknown. In 3 books he has become one of my favorites, right up there with Stephen King. George Guidall's narration is perfect - George IS the character Walt. Please try one of Craig Johnson's books you will not be disappointed.
Say something about yourself!
I have a pattern when it comes to adaptations: I go the source material first and read it, and then I watch the adaptation to see how it measures up. Not this time. I fell hard for the A&E television series Longmire thanks to its gorgeous use of setting, consistently excellent acting, and most of all its informed and sensitive portrayal of the interaction and politics between Anglo and Northern Cheyenne communities in Wyoming. In fact, I hesitated about listening to the novels that had inspired the show, in fear that this might somehow compromise my enjoyment of the series. I needn't have worried. Listening to this first of Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire novels has only enhanced my appreciation of the Longmire show and convinced me that I need to read all of the other books in the series.
Johnson fits a compelling mystery into a darkly witty work dedicated to careful characterization, a stunning sense of place, and a thoughtful meditation on the human condition. Johnson deserves tremendous credit for how well he portrays characters of and issues relating to different generations, sexes, and races/ethnicities. Readers who value contemporary Westerns, detective and mystery fiction, noir fiction, and well-written, literate, humane fiction in general should give Johnson a try.
I now understand why everyone praises George Guidall's narration of this series, as well. I've heard other Guidall narrations, and I knew he was an excellent reader, but wow - he was born to bring these books to life! This is the perfect marriage of text and voice.
I would and have recommend this audiobook to several friends. The characters are just so interesting and I have some friends that I know watched the series and I'm sure they would enjoy the audiobook. The characters are a little different than in the series but it isn't upsetting as it can be in some series when the TV/Movie is too different from the book.
There is a scene in the wilderness that I found moving but I won't spoil it here. I'll just say that there are scenes that will make you feel.
I wouldn't have necessarily thought that this would be the type of book that I would enjoy. I saw some reviews and decided to give it a chance. It was written and narrated in a way that I could picture the scenery and the people and even some of the vehicles and that surprises me. It was fairly vivid and the characters had some depth. There was a little back story so you knew something about them but it didn't jump all over the place so you got lost as some books do. I will be purchasing the next book in the series.
Great writing, greater heros, and a great setting. Longmire is here to stay I believe.Honestly, one of the best books I've read in a while. Got hooked on the T.V. show (which is also great) and decided to give the first book a try. Wow!
Having now listened to four books in the Walt Longmire series, I am without a doubt a loyal fan and will continue to read 'em as long as he writes 'em.
The only negative I can come up for this book is that it's not as good as Craig Johnson's sequels in the Walt Longmire series. It does drag a bit too much in a couple places, but overall, I would highly recommend this book as well as the series.
George Guidall is one of the best as far as narration and he doesn't disappoint in this one!
Put this one on your list - especially those of you who like listening to a series or exhausting an author's list of books.
After thoroughly enjoying the new TV series, LONGMIRE, I though I should begin reading the books. Great move on my part. The descriptions and characterizations are outstanding in Johnson's book. There is also a humorous side of Johnson's writing that seems to be specific to the book because there are no time constraints, as with TV.
Sheriff Longmire has been enjoying lazy days in the Wyoming frontier, with very little to push him into duty. He's even contemplating retirement, and hoping that his brash young deputy from Philadelphia, Victoria, would be elected as the new sheriff. He enjoys times with his friend Harry Standing Bull, and has gotten comfortable with his always honest and opinionated receptionist, Ruby. Keeping a couple of his other deputies in line is less enjoyable. And relations between the Native Indians on the reservation territory, and the remaining population, often takes some diplomacy.
All this is rudely disrupted when a dead body is found in Longmire's territory. This was assumed to probably be from an accident until another dead body is found. These two men had been part of a foursome who raped a fetal alcohol syndrome young women ten years ago. Because they were young, and presumably because it was a white on Native Indian crime, and there was a question of the 'knowledgeability' of the girl, the boys had been given a suspended sentence. Longmire suspects that these may be revenge murders, but wonders why the ten year wait.
The story line is suspenseful; pertinent to racial and disability issues; full of striking banter; and descriptive to a certain local. This book is, hopefully, the beginning of great added pleasure to the LONGMIRE TV show that prompted me read the originals in the first place!!!
I am rapidly working my way through this series and I LOVE it. George Guidall's narration is absolutely spot on for each and every character and Walt Longmire is a great man's man protagonist. You really feel the chill and wild beauty from the descriptions of Wyoming, you clearly hear the respect that Craig Johnson has for the mountains and people of Wyoming. There is some cursing (Vic - I speak of you), but it matches the character so well I wasn't as bothered by it as I could have been. I highly recommend these books to anyone who loves a good mystery and a well written book combined with a perfect narrator.