The Cold Dish

Author: Craig Johnson

Series: Walt Longmire Mystery #1
Rating: 3.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Borrow
I am going to try to keep my comparisons to the television show to a minimum, but I have to give credit to Longmire for without the television show, I never would have discovered this author or this series or this book.  I had never heard of Walt Longmire until I was watching a preview before the commercials before the previews at a movie.  A week or two later the show popped up on Netflix and I watched it on a whim and by the end of the first season I was hooked.  Naturally, reading this book was the next step.
Walt is a tough old bird, surly and a bit of a drunk.  He is still “dealing” with the death of his wife, although you get a sense that they weren’t all that happily married.  He has his best friend Henry, who talks in a bit of an unnerving way as he doesn’t use doesn’t, always using does not instead, etc.  It takes a bit of getting used to but I have to admit, it makes him sound wiser.  Henry and Walt have a dry but witty banter that adds a lot to the novel.
Then you have Vic, who has the mouth of a sailor.  And Ruby, who doesn’t like to put up with Walt’s nonsense.  And then there is Turk, who just seems like a complete turd.  I have to admit, every time I read Turk I thought Branch, but they are definitely two completely different characters as I actually really like Branch on the television show and didn’t like Turk much at all in the book.  The Ferg is still a little bland, but he shows his merits.  But, I digress, enough with the comparisons to the television show.
I don’t know much about Indian culture (at least not of the Native American variety), so I am not sure how accurate the book is, but it is always refreshing to catch glimpses at different cultures, especially ones so rooted into your own country.  I am also a sucker for horses and cowboy boots and deep dish hats, so the fact that this crime mystery takes place in Wyoming is a definite plus.  I’ve grow up a city gal my entire life and would love to escape to a small county out west at some point in my life.
As for the plot of the novel, I enjoyed the mystery but found the ending completely unsatisfying.  Out of all the people they count as suspects, the result seemed to come out of left field, and the explanation seemed thin and I didn’t buy it.  In addition, it didn’t seem to fit the character through the progression of the book and seemed a bit of a 180 turn at the end.  Sure, you get the element of surprise at the ending, but I felt it cheapened the story and the 320 page lead in to the ending which is why I couldn’t bring myself to give the book a better rating.
Overall, the ending kind of ruined the novel for me, but the characters developed are close enough to the types of characters I fell in love with in the show, and for that reason alone I am willing to try out the next book in the series and hope for a better crime mystery/ending that I feel is more suited to my liking.
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