I’m celebrating finding “The Cold Dish ” by Craig Johnson

To me, finding a new series to read is a happy event. Finding a new series where, from the first chapter, all I want to do is settle down and listen to anything and everything that the main character wants to tell me about is a cause for celebration.

I’m celebrating today because Iqlarry at booklikes.com recommended that, as I’d enjoyed C J Box’s Joe Pickett series about a Wyoming game warden, I should take a look at Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series about a sheriff in a small town in Wyoming.

I’m only two chapters in and I already want to spend the rest of the day with this book.

Walt Longmire is an old guy who’s been around forever and who is currently struggling to take part in life. He has a dry sense of humour, lower expectations of life, long term friendships and an inability to let acts of evil slip by.

There’s a case, of course, and from the title, I know it will be about revenge and I think I already know for what and on whom, but all of that is secondary. Mostly this book is about living behind Walt Longmire’s eyes and seeing the world the way he does.

Craig Johnson’s writing is excellent: unhurried, self-assured, nuanced and accessible. George Guidall’s narration is the perfect fit for Walt Longmire. I could listen to him forever.

Here’s an example of why this book is calling to me. The sheriff, widowed four years earlier, is in the Red Pony bar, sitting in the dark because the ancient fuse for the lights has blown, talking to Varney, a woman he has known, albeit slightly, all his life. Varney knew his wife, knows his daughter, Katy and has returned to Wyoming after living in New York. The sheriff says:

“Is that East Coast sarcasm I’m hearing?”

“No, that’s East Coast self-pity.”

“Oh.”

I was getting in well over my head. I can do the bull about as well as it can be done but that edgy buzz talk makes me weary in a heartbeat. I try and keep up but after a while I start to drag.

She placed a hand on mine and I think it was the hottest hand I’d ever felt.

“Walter, are you alright?”

It always started like this, a touch and a kind word, I used to feel heat behind my eyes and a shortness of breath but now I just feel the emptiness. The fuses of desire are blown black windows and I’m gone with no pennies to save me.

“Oh, you mean you really want to talk?”

Her eyes were so sad, so honest.

“Yeah, I figured seeing as how we didn’t have anything else to do.”

So I leaned in and told her the truth.

“I just… I’m just numb most of the time.”

She blinked.

“Me too.”

I felt like one of those guys in the movies, there in a foxhole asking how much ammo your buddy’s got – I got two more clips. How about you?

“I know the things I’m supposed to do but I just don’t seem to have the energy. I mean, I’ve been thinking about turning over my pillow for three weeks.”

“I know.”

She looked away.

“How’s Katy?”

Here I was, on the white-capped Pacific of self-pity and Varney threw me a lifeline, to keep me from embarrassing myself.

So that’s me hooked. Again. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a book to listen to.

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