If you follow my reviews I can promise to never bore you with reciting what the book is about- and I will never ever give anything away.
The Cold Dish is the first book in the Walter Longmire mysteries, and I am on my fourth book in this series. I'm only pausing in my listening to that one to write this review because I feel guilty getting so much pleasure without giving back in return.
If you like your detectives to be hard boiled, cynical and loners, if you like characters like Micheal Connelly's Harry Bosch and Ian Rankin's Rebus who get little respect from their colleagues no matter how many cases they solve, have enough emotional baggage to fill an airliner, have no luck in the love department, have family problems, drinking problems, car trouble, money trouble or just trouble in any form, you will NOT like sheriff Walt Longmire.
He is very good at what he does - being a sheriff. He is thoughtful - not quick to make a judgment, he has the respect of his peers, the town judge, the Indians on the Northern Cheyenne reservation, the people of his town, he has confidence in himself and his best lifelong friend Henry Standing Bear, and he has pretty good luck in the love department. I am referring to these qualities not just in The Cold Dish, I am confident that he will still be a character I want to be reading about for the whole series. I am so glad to come across a protagonist that I really like, that I respect, that I don't have to feel sorry for or worry about. It's a bit of a relief and a great joy.
As for Craig Johnson's writing style I could not be more effusive in my praise - he writes as if he made a private back-story for each and every minor or major character in his books. Consequently they are all different, and though he might describe their physical attributes so we have a mental picture of them, it is their personalities that lead us to feel we know how they are going to act. It is the most real writing I have ever experienced without being bogged down with details. For example, the sheriff might reach into his pocket for his phone but guess what? The battery is dead. And this will have nothing to do with the trajectory of the plot. It's just real, we have all had that happen. Everything you read is NOT foreshadowing. That allows one to read for enjoyment: one does not have to hang on or remember every detail. There won't be a clever single clue that give the mystery away. You and Walter are in this together and you and he will come to the same conclusions at the same time.
Not just with The Cold Dish but with all three of the books I have listened to so far, when the perpetrator of the crime or crimes is found out we realize who it is only a sentence or two before Walt voices it in his own head. I do not like a mystery where everything comes together in the end - tied with a bow of coincidence and unknown events so you feel there was no way you could have ever figured it out because you didn't have all of the facts. He thinks and re-thinks events trying to find out just what is bothering him about something, why it doesn't sit right in his head. He puzzles out the information he is seeking and you can just see his eyes narrowing in your own head as he does so.
And now a few words of appreciation of the narrator George Guidall who brings Walter and Bear, Vic, Ruby and others to life. His expressive and resonate voices for each person are perfect. I can't imagine that Craig Johnson is not honored and thrilled to have his work read by such an accomplished and professional reader. I quite enjoy the voice he uses for Henry Stand Bear, also known as "the Cheyenne Nation", Henry never uses contractions when he speaks and his voice is quite distinct from Walt's. Mr Guidall is a joy to listen to while I am driving, working around the house or falling asleep. I often set a bookmark and then set my phone for the sleep timer for 45 minutes and then in the morning just go back to that bookmark.
I liked Craig Johnson's fully fleshing out of the great characters that would fill the Walt Longmire universe, and I very much enjoyed the representations of those characters by George Guidall.
With this book, Craig Johnson made me very love a type of book that I usually hate: a character-centric book where the actual story takes a back seat to character development. But the characters are so very good and so very interesting that keeping the actual plot kind of light allowed me to really get to know them.
It's a tossup between Walt and Henry. But I think that Walt wins out because George Guidall's voice is so very suited for an older, rough cowboy. Thanks to Mr. Guidall's voicing, have a strong picture of both of the characters.
Really enjoyed this book! Plan to read the next one soon:) I watch the series and am very glad I gave the books a shot. Great narration as well.
Excellent on all levels. I am looking forward to the rest of the books in the series. The characters are wonderful, the dialogue make me laugh out loud sometimes, and George Guidall is a perfect narrator. The author must have first hand experience walking in a blizzard. what a great part that was.
I love this narrator. His dry wit is a perfect match for the characters. Cold Dish is a favorite of mine. It's the book that opens up the world of Walt Longmire and if you like a mystery with Western flare you probably won't be disappointed.
In the top 10 for sure; the combination of a great book and an amazing reader made for a winner.
Some of Peterson's stuff mixed in with some classic westerns.
Any scene with Henry in it. The interactions between Henry and Walt felt real, like the book was just transcribing a conversation between two friends.
The last three hours were a rush, the people in the Target parking lot probably though I was crazy.
Loved it, listening to the second book while I type this. I am going to have to try the TV series.
One of the best books I've read/listened to since Crossers by Phillip Caputo. The story is crisp, the writing and the narration are clean and the storyline is fun to follow.