The first time I read this book, I devoured it. I loved the setting and the main character, Sheriff Walt Longmire. I was excited when TNT picked up Craig Johnson’s novels and made them into a TV series called Longmire. So far, the TV series has kept close to the original books as far as characters, setting and style is concerned. They have, of course, had to create more stories.
The third season starts on Monday, June 2nd. I’m looking forward to it. To remind myself of why I like all these characters so much, I decided to go back and re-read the first book, Cold Dish. Re-reading let me see again the depth to the character of Walt Longmire. It reminded me of how much I love Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s oldest friend.
The title “Cold Dish” refers to the ancient quote: “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” In this story we look back at an event that occurred a couple of years earlier. Four teenage boys participated in a violent rape of a mentally retarded Indian girl. The boys were released on probation or only served very light sentences.
Injustice is still fresh in the minds of the community when one of the boys is murdered. Evidence at the crime scene suggests a member of the tribe did it. As Walt and his team investigate, another boy is killed. The pressure is on to find the killer before all four boys die.
Walt only has three deputies but, his best one is Vic. She is a ballistics specialist and former cop from big cities back east. In the book Vic is smart (and smart-mouthed) and knows a lot about being a professional law-efforcement officer. She is played perfectly by Katee Sackhoff on the TV series. The actress obviously read the books and understands what makes up the personality of Vic.
Vic and Henry are an enormous help to Walt in solving this mystery. But ultimately, it’s Walt who has a hunch about who the real killer is.
I like the TV series because it gives good visual images to the characters and the small town. But nothing beats the books! If you don’t read the books you miss the numerous jokes and sarcastic comments Walt Longmire throws out. You also miss how faithful Henry is to his friend when he is down. Henry helps many other people as well in quiet, non-showy ways. If anything, the TV series needs to give Henry more story time.
Craig Johson has written eleven Longmire novels. If you like the TV series, you’ll really love the books. Re-reading his first book was a good choice for me. It was fun, satisfying, and a good way to spend time with some great characters. I even changed my rating this time around. Now I see it as a A/5-star book.