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The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson Review

Title: The Cold Dish

Author: Craig Johnson

First published December 29, 2004

354 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780143036425 (ISBN10: 0143036424)

Rating: 4.12


Sheriff Walt Longmire is in for a tough time when a young man is discovered dead in the woods of Wyoming’s Absaroka County. Cody Pritchard and his accomplices had been given suspended sentences for a heinous crime, which was the rape of a Northern Cheyenne girl.

The question on everyone’s mind is whether this is an act of vengeance. Longmire is determined to solve this case, which is one of the most explosive and demanding cases he has faced in his long career as sheriff.

He will stop at nothing to ensure that justice is served, and that revenge remains a dish that is never served cold.

About the Author

Meet Craig Johnson, a versatile American author who has made a name for himself as a novelist, playwright, and short story writer. He currently resides in Ucross, a small town close to Sheridan, Wyoming with a population of 25.

Craig Johnson is best known for his twelve novels featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire. His books have received rave reviews from various publications including Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal.

In 2009, one of his novels was even recognized as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s best books of the year. Two of his books, and , were finalists for the Dilys Award, while his book, , was named Book of the Year by the Wyoming Historical Association.

Another one of his novels, , won the Western Writers of America Spur Award for best novel of 2008 and also won the Mountains and Plains award for fiction book of the year.

Before becoming an author, Craig Johnson worked in different fields including law enforcement, teaching, and even as a cowboy and longshoreman. His writing has earned him several awards including the Tony Hillerman Award for “Old Indian Trick,” the Wyoming Historical Society’s fiction book of the year award, and the Wyoming Council for the Arts Award.

Editoral Review

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson is a masterfully written mystery novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end. Johnson is a talented writer who exquisitely blends wit and chilling suspense to create a gripping story that explores the human condition.

The story is set in Absaroka County, Wyoming, where Sheriff Walt Longmire is investigating the murder of Cody Pritchard, a young man who was convicted of raping a Cheyenne girl but was released from prison on a technicality. Longmire believes that the murderer is seeking revenge for Pritchard’s crime, and as he delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of corruption, greed, and betrayal that threatens to tear apart the quiet town.

At the heart of the story is Longmire, a complex and compelling character who is haunted by the ghosts of his past and struggling to find his place in a changing world. Johnson deftly explores themes of justice, redemption, and the complexities of human relationships, and his writing is both lyrical and precise.

One of the strengths of The Cold Dish is Johnson’s character development. Longmire is a fully realized and nuanced character, and the supporting cast, including his best friend Henry Standing Bear and his deputy Victoria Moretti, are equally well-drawn.

Johnson takes his time in developing these characters, allowing readers to become invested in their lives and each new twist in the story. In terms of pacing, Johnson balances action and introspection perfectly, keeping the story moving while never sacrificing the depth of his characters.

The mystery is tightly plotted, with each new clue leading Longmire closer to the truth, and the final reveal is satisfying without feeling forced. With its rugged Western setting and exploration of Native American culture, The Cold Dish has a strong sense of place that adds depth to the story.

Johnson’s attention to detail and his use of Cheyenne language and customs make the setting come alive in a way that is both immersive and respectful. Overall, The Cold Dish is a must-read for fans of mystery and Western genres.

Johnson’s writing is both poetic and suspenseful, and his characters are richly drawn and realistic. While the book has few flaws, some readers may find the pace a bit slow at times.

However, this is a small quibble in an otherwise exceptional novel. Anyone who appreciates great writing and compelling characters will love The Cold Dish, and it is highly recommended for fans of authors such as Tony Hillerman and C.J. Box.

With its complex themes and unforgettable characters, The Cold Dish is a novel that will stay with readers long after they turn the final page. Therefore, The Cold Dish deserves a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.