Walt Longmire is the long-time sheriff of Wyoming’s Absaroka County. After 25-years, and a hope to retire in peace, that desire looks like it may not happen anytime soon. The body of Cody Pritchard was found near the Cheyenne reservation. Two years ago, Cody and three of his friends from high school viciously gang-raped a young special-needs Cheyenne girl. After an emotional trial, they were given suspended sentences that left the Native American community seething.
Sheriff Longmire and Deputy Victoria (Vic) Moretti, and his friend Henry Standing Bear, investigate the crime. They believe it is a revenge killing and the other three young men are in danger. The killing increased the strain between the white population and the Native Americans.
When one of the remaining three men was found dead, fear and tension continued to build between the two factions. Longmire felt added pressure when he realized his friend Henry might be involved. Longmire pulls out all the stops as he tries to prevent an explosive and dangerous situation that would affect the whole area.
The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson is a top-notch beginning to a series that now includes eight books and a television show based on the stories. The book is a well-written mystery with taut attention to detail and well defined characters. The expansive scenery and emotionally intense storyline adds to the flavor of the camaraderie between Longmire and his deputies, and with best friend Henry Standing Bear. The relationships offer additional insight into the behavior between the men and women who play such an important party in Longmire’s world.
The Cold Dish is an outstanding first novel, multilayered and gritty, woven with good-natured humor. The Wyoming landscape is spectacular and the author describes the scenery in such a way that the reader feels like they are in the midst of the action.
An extended climatic scene towards the end of the novel with Longmire working his way down a mountain is riveting and threaded with mysticism. While some readers may find the detailed descriptions a bit tedious at times, in reality the author is laying the groundwork for the next scenes. Reading this superb first novel has confirmed my desire to read the rest of the series.
This review is a result of my purchase of The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson. If you are interested in any of the books in this series, they are available on Amazon.com.