This Mystery Novel Should Win Major Awards

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

When I come across a mystery this good, I feel like throwing a party. This is the first in a series narrated by Sheriff Walt Longmire, a gruff widower, Vietnam veteran, and good man. He’s just going through the motions in his life, when the murder of a high school student jolts him. The young man had been accused, along with some friends, of abusing a disabled girl. At the trial, they were dealt easy sentences and walked free. Now it appears that someone is out for revenge. Walt’s deputy is Vic, a smart, tough gal whom he knows he’s lucky to have hired. Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s lifelong best friend, becomes a suspect in the case, which introduces some unusual tension into their friendship. Even so, Henry sets out to wake Walt from his stupor, by starting him on an exercise program and attitude realignment. In this great debut, even the secondary characters leap off the page. I’m ready to move to Wyoming. The sheriff’s lovably curmudgeonly voice and wonderful dry wit make me want to spend more time with this fellow.