Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kindness Goes Unpunished: Craig Johnson

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this series. I read the first two books in the Walt Longmire Mystery series just over a year ago. I should not have let so much time lapse before reading this third novel in the series.

Craig Johnson tells an interesting story in a way that keeps me turning the pages. I like the characters and I care about them. That is pretty much what I want in a book.

Walt Longmire is the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, which is located next to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Another important character in the series is Walt's lifelong friend Henry Standing Bear, who lives on the reservation. In this story, Bear and Walt visit Philadelphia, where Walt's daughter Cady lives. While there, Bear will be exhibiting some Mennonite photos of the Cheyenne. Thus, this novel does not have the background and atmosphere of Wyoming and the reservation like the previous two novels. However, Indian culture does come into play, as do statues of Indians around the city of Philadelphia.

Soon after Bear and Walt arrive in Philadelphia, Cady is critically injured and it turns out she has become involved in a political conspiracy. Obviously, Walt follows up to find out what led to the incident. I admit to having a few quibbles with the proliferation of coincidences in this book, which I don't want to go into in more detail. But they did not bother me to the extent of lessening my enjoyment of the book.

I would definitely recommend this book (but I would start with the first two in the series). And from what I read, the series keeps getting better and better.

I have forgotten a lot about the first book in this series. At Margot Kinberg's blog, she profiles The Cold Dish.

This post at Open Letters Monthly reviews the seventh novel in the series, Hell is Empty, and has a great description of the main character in the series:
The debut novel in this series, The Cold Dish (2005), introduces the charismatic Longmire, and the Sheriff instantly wins your admiration with his humility, integrity, and humor. He tells us his sleuthing began during his tour in Vietnam. He can recognize Prokofiev’s First Symphony, and he sprinkles his narration with allusions to Aristotle, Shakespeare and Coleridge, among others. He’s a study in contradictions, crazily courageous, deceptively vulnerable, he’s fastidious about the company he keeps but has to check his frying pans for mouse turds.
The author's website is also a great resource for the series.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tracy - First, thank you so much for the kind words and the link to my blog. I really do like this series and you've done an excellent review here of this entry into it. Folks, Tracy is right, though. You're far better off and will get much more out of the series if you start at the beginning. Trust me the effort is worth it. The books do get hold of one...