The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

In a little bit of role reversal, a couple of our library members recently recommended a book to me!  I’ve been watching the A&E television series Longmire, which is based on the Walt Longmire mystery series written by Craig Johnson.  I noticed some of our members reading the books and asked how they liked them.  Of course, they said the books were much better than the shows.  (Aren’t they always?)  They said although the shows use plot elements from the books, they are not exactly the same, so you can read the books without knowing how they will end.  Curious, I tried the first in the series, The Cold Dish.

The Cold Dish begins with the discovery of the body of Cody Pritchard.  No one really misses Pritchard, a former high school football star who received an especially light sentence after being found guilty of leading the gang rape of a young Cheyenne woman.  The verdict was not popular on the local Cheyenne reservation or with the sheriff who investigated the case, Walt Longmire.  Walt is just starting to pull himself back together after losing his wife a few years back.  He sincerely hopes Pritchard’s death was the result of a hunting accident, but the evidence begins to point the other way.  His deputy Vic (Victoria) Moretti, a former homicide detective fresh from the Philadelphia police department is up to the challenge.  Walt’s best friend Henry Standing Bear is ready to help too, but he is also one of the most obvious suspects, which could prove to be a problem.
This police procedural mystery is set in the ranches, mountains, and reservations of Wyoming.  I just loved reading about the area, and found the historic gun lore involved in the case interesting.  The Longmire books also include some Cheyenne legend and mysticism, creating a unique atmosphere.  But what I loved the most about this book was the humor.  The dialog is witty, the characters are quirky, and Walt’s narration is wryly funny throughout.  I guess I am the newest fan of Craig Johnson’s Longmire books!

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7 Responses to “The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson”

  1. Ben LaGarde Says:

    I have read ALL of Johnson’s mysteries and have concluded he is a great story-teller and even better writer. Love ’em all

  2. RoseMarie Isbell Says:

    I’m on #4, Another Man’s Moccasins. Love both the books and the TV show. I lived in Greybull, WY for many years so maybe could be a bit prejudiced!

  3. Stan Says:

    If you want a real treat then next time Craig is at the closest library to where you live go to the function. He is a great guy and has some funny stuff to say. Answers questions and genuinely loves what this has become.

  4. bonnie kaufman Says:

    have read all the books and have the newest book ordered by my library. due out in may and of course not missed any of the shows on A&E..

  5. Peggyb1946 Says:

    The book series were and are an exciting discovery. Craig Johnson has “built” characters that we fall for like a ton of bricks. It’s fun to explore the land and legends that are Wyoming. It’s an exceptionally good idea that the TV series is familiar to readers but casts the familiar in a fresh light so we can enjoy books and series both.That kind of thoughtfulness in a director has to be rare. Kudos to all the creators behind LONGMIRE and LONGMIRE. Long may they reign!! .

  6. Judy Says:

    I’ve also read all of the Longmire books and am eagerly waiting for the next one. I like the TV show as well, and it was the way I discovered the books, but as you pointed out, the humor is an important part of the books and is mostly left out of the TV series.

  7. taxgeekprofessor Says:

    Craig is one of the most accessible authors writing today, and this novel is excellent in its plotting. The ending is unpredictable – even for someone like me who can generally figure out whodunit in the first chapter. A great read.

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