Johnson writes on a par with Pat Conroy...(Beach Music). He does his homework ... he is authoritative whether talking about fly fishing, Wyoming, Medical injuries, wine, firearms, or forensic matters.... His descriptions of scenes and characters are vivid. It is not the story but the storytelling that makes this book remarkable. I have just bought his next two in the series and can't wait to start them.
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.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
This is my first Walt Longmire novel but it certainly won't be my last. Longmire is a widower and sheriff in Apsaroka County in Wyoming. When one of the four men who got a light sentence for raping a mentally handicapped Cheyenne girl turns up dead, he's got a problem on his hands.
Craig Johnson knows how to write characters, and make you love them. The bad guys are interesting and the story is gripping and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The best part of the book is the dry humor of the many characters. There are so many great one-liners in the book that I couldn't keep up with them. One that I remember was when Walt asks his friend Henry Standing Bear, who has been shot, "Pain?" "No, thanks I have enough." Henry answers.
I understand A&E have a series called "Longmire" based on this series.
George Guidall does a wonderful job voicing these marvelous characters.
I look forward to reading more of this author and his Longmire series.
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!!!
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
I was hesitant to buy, then left it sitting in my library for more than a month before starting what turned out to be a really wonderful listening experience. Now I want the remaining seven books in the Longmire series. Loved the characters, the narration, the descriptive prose that allows the listener to experience Wyoming. Fantastic book -- even if you don't consider yourself a "western" or "mystery" fancier. You won't regret it.
I enjoyed this book and listened to it til the end. Murder/mysteries are my favorite genre as escapism and this is a good one. One reviewer stated that there is a lot of swearing in this book and that's true; however, it is true for one or two characters of the book and not all of them and not used in the narrative too much, if at all. Not all of the characters are likeable and, unfortunately, the characters which are easiest to dislike are the women. They are either nags, gossips, grumps, sluts or victims.
What I like about the book is that the author clearly conveys the brutality of the murder without being overly descriptive. I like Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch novels, but I find them to be far too graphic in blood and gore and that turns me off after awhile. Johnson focuses his stories more on the characters and descriptions of the western country and Native American beliefs than the gorey details of crimes. At times he gets a little long-winded in those descriptions, but eventually moves on. The ending was a bit of a disappointment, in my opinion.
George Guidall is an excellent narrator and I got used to listening to him in Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme novels. I recently listened to another book narrated by Guidall (not a Deaver book) and I can now honestly say that I am a little tired of him as a narrator. One reviewer described him as not having much of a range when voicing different characters and that's true.
I will likely listen to the next book in this series at some future date, but not until I have recovered from my current weariness of Guidall as narrator.
If you like HIllerman's Jim Chee mysteries or the Posadas County series by Steven F Havill, you will enjoy Craig Johnson's series featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire and set in contemporary Wyoming.
George Guidall's reading of this series opener is absolutely flawless. He's simply the best.
This book was off the beaten path for me, and I was pleasantly surprised. Craig Johnson paints a very realistic picture that's easy to invest in. The rich description of landscape, mixed with the wry humor of the main characters make, not only for an engrossing mystery, but an engrossing novel.