Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Finished: Craig Johnson's 'The Cold Dish'

I scored tickets to hear Craig Johnson speak at Black Hills State University last week. So I figured I better read one of his books.

He’s the author of the Longmire book series, which was turned into a television series. It’s sixth and final season (though Johnson hinted at some one-off movies down the road) hits Netflix on Nov. 17 (if I recall correctly, but probably don’t.)

I found Johnson to be very humorous, down-home, humble. He provided great insight into the characters, the writing process, the actors and the biz. It was well worth the money (tickets were free).

While Johnson practically lives in my backyard (Wyoming) and I love the Netflix series, I’d never read one of his books. Not sure why, but maybe was thinking they really weren’t up my alley for murder mysteries. Might’ve even been a little uppity myself, thinking they were more Louis L’amour-ish, and those were from my junior high days.

Anyway, picked up his first in the series, The Cold Dish. And loved it. Might be front-runner for my favorite book I read in 2017. It had all the stuff I like if you combined Dean Koontz-Lee Child-Lawrence Block: murder, mystery, sex, love, spirit worlds, good dialogue.
Walt Longmire, sheriff of Wyoming's Absaroka County, knows he's got trouble when Cody Pritchard is found dead. Two years earlier, Cody and three accomplices had been given suspended sentences for raping a Northern Cheyenne girl. Is someone seeking vengeance? Longmire faces one of the more volatile and challenging cases in his twenty-four years as sheriff and means to see that revenge, a dish that is best served cold, is never served at all.
I ended it late the other night and just sat thinking about the book. It’s like the book ends with Walt Longmire, suffering, half-drunk, sitting on the porch of his Wyoming ranch home, with his best bud, who’s just given him an iced tea instead of a beer, and you’re thinking about the book and gradually come back into the real world. But you don’t want to, you want to go back to Wyoming, but you can’t, because the book is over and you’re back in reality and you gotta go to work tomorrow and you're grumpy the book ended because it was so good.

I was also annoyed that I didn’t pick out the killer in the book until way too late.

Not sure if I liked the book more because I’d met the author, or if I would have liked it just as much without having met him. I guess it doesn’t matter. I liked it and will be picking up the second book in the series.

Goodreaders give a 4.1 out of 5. Amazonians a steller 4.5. The Haugenometer about hit 8 on this one but will settle with a 7+ on the ten-point scale.

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