Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Read: "Cold Dish" by Craig Johnson

Read: Cold Dish by Craig Johnson, 2005, 9780670033690.

I reserved this after reading several recommendations regarding a later novel in the series off the Forgotten Books postings. This was okay. I was not sure what to expect. The main character, Walt, is self deprecating and humorous at times. Not too angsty, but enough.

Walt is a widower with a grown daughter living in Philadelphia. Walt is the Sheriff in his rural Wyoming County with only two full-time Deputies, one of whom he hates. Walt's best pal is a Cheyenne guy he grew up with, Henry Standing Bear.

Walt has been drinking too much the past four years since his wife's cancer death. His daughter - who never speaks or appears in the story - and others have been discussing about getting him to move on and date some women. Walt gets hooked up with local rich gal. There seem to be a fair amount of rich people who come to enjoy the mountains.

Walt has also been maudlin the past two years over the gang-rape of a fetal alcohol syndrome Cheyenne girl who is also Henry's niece. The rapists got off easy; two years in a juvenile facility. Walt gets a call about a body out in a field. Sheriff's Department investigate and find the deceased is one of the rapists. Walt and smarter deputy investigate. Walt gets hot for local rich gal. Walt drinks too much. Things happen. A second rapist also shot with a .45-70. More things happen. Walt and Henry caught in blizzard with Henry shot. Walt figures out the shooter. Walt shoots shooter from about 700 yards out with his own .45-70. Walt watches shooter, his new gal-pal-to-be blow her brains out. Hint: she was the killer. Walt inherits dead gal's dog. Walt and dog live happily ever after.

1. Johnson does not clearly identify which character is speaking. I often had to go back a line or two to figure it out.
2. Johnson also does not use the narration fill in all sorts of gaps about cop language/lingo, forensic talk, local lingo and geographic knowledge and tidbits. I was fine with that.
3. .45-70 love.
4. Colt 1911 love.
5. Pick-up truck love.
6. Mystic Indian ghost love. A small part of the novel involves the Cheyenne Death Rifle (or something like that). The rifle is an old Sharp's left over from the Indian Wars. The rifle is followed by Indian ghosts and Walt feels there presence. Then he sees and hears their presence when he has to carry Henry out of the mountains.
7. 700 yards, off-hand, with a big, heavy .45-70? Yeah, right.

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