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The cold dish by Craig Johnson
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The cold dish (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Craig Johnson

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8416210,711 (4.02)217
Member:bfister
Title:The cold dish
Authors:Craig Johnson
Info:New York : Viking, 2005.
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Wyoming, crime fiction

Work details

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson (2004)

  1. 20
    Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger (sjmccreary)
    sjmccreary: similar remote locations, small towns near Indian reservations, both are cold weather settings
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Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
My quick impression: This started out a little rough, then got quite good, then went into a weak end game.

After an uneven start laid on a little thick, I thought Craig Johnson had done a very good job in elevating the suspense, broadening the character development of just about everyone, adding local color especially with the Cheyenne, casting suspicion all over the place .. in other words, writing a good mystery/suspense story and one that was a little different. I'm not a fan of guns so all the "gun worship" in the novel was a bit wasted on me. The mystical stuff on the mountain added some color and started well, but I thought it went on a little too long as well as strangely. Without being more than a little bit spoilery I thought the story fell off from there when Longmire came down the mountain trail through the blizzard with Esper. When he went back up we suddenly lose an entire scene - half a chapter worth perhaps and everyone wakes up in the hospital. That bothered me quite a bit. Finding their bones next spring might have been more believable. Moreso when I thought about how could anyone get up there and not see the "Tuff 1" truck coming down the mountain road? We had been told a number of times about how they drove for miles and saw no other vehicles. So I think someone might notice the Tuff1 Mazda making the great escape. If the reader can even accept that. I saw it coming, I'm sure everyone did, but wished it hadn't come. That part of the story failed me.

I noticed a few glitches in the storytelling. The conversations were hard to follow more than a few times, esp between Henry and Longmire - I'd read and re-read trying to figure who was talking and even what they were meaning. Not always successfully. Sometimes it was in the colorful expressions ... for example on pg 198 "I was looking forward to our next meeting like Grant did Gettysburg" I'd never heard that before. Probably no one has. Grant never did Gettysburg. Grant was busy elsewhere (Vicksburg I think). Gen. George Meade led the Union against Lee at Gettysburg. I suppose if he had written "looking forward to our next meeting like Longstreet did Gettysburg" there might have been even more puzzled readers. Or maybe not. At least it would be accurate.

Am I being nitpicky? Maybe a little, but Johnson writes this with snarkiness all over the place and although it made for some funny scenes it might have been dialed down a notch for my enjoyment. On the plus side, I like how the small town atmosphere makes anyone's business everyone's business. I think the writing improved a lot from the beginning of the book. I like a story that drops in bits of history here and there. I also like Longmire's relationship with Henry - feels like a real friendship and a modern update of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. (I mean that in a good way). Henry Standing Bear is my favorite character.

I was disappointed with the end. It is not quite a Dues ex machina. To use and slightly mangle a cultural reference like the author loves to do, I'll say "it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline. Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn't believe what he seen." So I give it a 3 star rating. With a bullet.

The moral of the story? Perhaps all of this could have been avoided if justice had been applied a little fairer in the first place. Bailiff, whack his pee pee. ( )
  RBeffa | Feb 23, 2015 |
I loved The Cold Dish and it may end up being the most memorable read for this month. The TV series is pretty good and although there were some changes to the characters and storyline the novel is at least as good. It opens with Walt being rather depressed and out of shape and just coasting through his job when the body of a young boy turns up and murder is the only possibility. Here the characters and the setting are fully realized and the murder has a somewhat "I didn't see that coming" ending that is, in fact, logical. Definitely recommended.
  hailelib | Feb 8, 2015 |
I was surprised at the quality of this book. It is the first in the Longmire series, and it delivered good writing, good plot, and good characterization. The author got the descriptions of small town live in the West right. The descriptions of the land and people are right on target. His description of the difference between the realities of the office of Sheriff was right on target. This is an elected office. It is not appointed and therefore not part of the police force. It is separate from that. The fact that a Sheriff has to be liked to keep his job is important. There is also lots of history in this title. The reader is not beaten over the head with the history, but is told facts in short concise bits of information that makes it easy to take in while reading a story that keeps going. In short, there is not much to criticize in this novel other than it is at heart a mystery and as such is full of the usual mystery/detective tropes. In particular the typical hard drinking, unlucky in life hero is getting old for this reader, but other than that the book was full of interesting characters. I look forward to reading more of these novels. ( )
  benitastrnad | Jan 27, 2015 |
In Johnson’s mystery novel, Walt Longmire is a twenty-four year veteran sheriff of Wyoming’s Absaroka County. When Cody Pritchard’s dead body is found near the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, things begin heating up. Two years ago, Cody had been one of four high school boys given suspended sentences for raping a local Cheyenne girl. One look at the body, and Walt is certain that someone is out for revenge. He’s also certain that he is probably the only thing standing between the three remaining boys and a bullet.

Teaming with lifelong friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and a mismatched cast of characters both good and bad, Sherriff Longmire attempts to see that revenge never comes to pass.

Johnson has penned a winning piece of work, with a convincing feel to the whole package. ( )
  debbieaheaton | Jan 25, 2015 |
The Cold Dish is the first book in the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson, which is basis of the short lived A&E television show Longmire. While the book and show both have western mystery vibes, they have subtle differences. The book shares similar attributes but does not have the same feel as the television program, which seems to target western fans before adding any mystery or drama. I suspect the reason the show never really took off was the fact that everyone was middle aged.

Walt Longmire is the sheriff of the fictional Wyoming county of Absaroka. His only friend is Henry Standing Bear; together they remind me of a more serious Statler and Waldorf with their self-deprecation. The novel revolves around the death of Cody Pritchard, a man who two years earlier was suspected for raping a Cheyenne girl. Longmire is on the case and Henry helps him by being a liaison between the Sheriff’s office and the Cheyenne reservation in the effort to solve this crime.

I have only watched the first season of Longmire so it is hard to compare between the book and the show. I know Longmire is portrayed as rough and tough in the show but it leaves out a lot of his wit and humour. Deputy Victoria Moretti shows the most change between the book and series; her whole attitude and backstory played out in very different ways. To be honest I do not know why I did not watch any more of this show, I think it was a matter of timing and a busy schedule.

I read this for my Literary Exploration reading challenge and I thought a western with a mystery was the best way to experience this genre. While this novel is full of the typical mystery tropes, this was actually a very entertaining novel. The wry wit and self-deprecation is what worked for me within the novel; it almost makes me want to re-watch the TV show to see what I missed. I am tempted to read more of this series but I fear the formulaic elements will quickly get in the way.

This review originally appeared on my blog: http://literary-exploration.com/2014/11/16/the-cold-dish-by-craig-johnson/ ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 1, 2014 |
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Epigraph
Revenge is a dish best served cold. --Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderlos de La Clos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Dedication
For
The Dairy Princess of Wayne Count
And the Crack Shot of Cabell ...
First words
"Bob Barnes says they got a dead body out on BLM land."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
After twenty-four years as sheriff of Wyoming's Absaroka County, Walt Longmire's hopes of finishing out his tenure in peace are dashed when Cody Prithcard is found dead near the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Two years earlier, Cody had been one of four high school boys given suspended sentences for raping a local Cheyenne girl. Somebody, it would seem, is seeking vengeance, and Longmire might be the only thing standing between the three remaining boys and a Sharps .45-70 buffalo rifle.
With lifelong friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and a cast of characters both tragic and humorous enough to fill in the vast emptiness of the high plains, Walt Longmire attempts to see that revenge, a dish best served cold, is nver served at all.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143036424, Paperback)

Introducing Wyoming’s Sheriff Walt Longmire in this riveting novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Hell Is Empty and As the Crow Flies, the first in the Walt Longmire Mystery Series, the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit A&E original drama series
 
Fans of Ace Atkins, Nevada Barr and Robert B. Parker will love this outstanding first novel, in which New York Times bestselling author Craig Johnson introduces Sheriff Walt Longmire of Wyoming’s Absaroka County. Johnson draws on his deep attachment to the American West to produce a literary mystery of stunning authenticity, and full of memorable characters. After twenty-five years as sheriff of Absaroka County, Walt Longmire’s hopes of finishing out his tenure in peace are dashed when Cody Pritchard is found dead near the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Two years earlier, Cody has been one of four high school boys given suspended sentences for raping a local Cheyenne girl. Somebody, it would seem, is seeking vengeance, and Longmire might be the only thing standing between the three remaining boys and a Sharps .45-70 rifle.
 
With lifelong friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and a cast of characters both tragic and humorous enough to fill in the vast emptiness of the high plains, Walt Longmire attempts to see that revenge, a dish best served cold, is never served at all.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When a local boy is found dead near the North Cheyenne reservation, most people assume it was an isolated incident, but when Sheriff Walt Longmire launches an investigation, he discovers that two years earlier, the dead boy and three other high school boys had been given suspended sentences for raping a Cheyenne girl. Soon, a second boy is gunned down, and only Sheriff Longmire can keep the other two safe.… (more)

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