Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cowboy hats in the City of Brotherly Love

I am always looking for a good book- a great book. There are so many books published each year that it is hard to keep up. You end up wading through through piles of poor to fair stories to find that one gem that finally shines. What makes the reading experience so much better is to be given a recommendation by someone else- someone who likes the kinds of stories you do, someone whose reading interests are similar to yours. When you talk to, chat with, or exchange emails with someone, you can quickly ascertain if they like similar types of books.

Recently I was having a conversation with my book rep from Penguin, Eric, and as it so happened, our interest in books are somewhat similar. While looking through the catalogs of books, we came across a series that Eric suggested I read, or at least pick up one of the books and give it a try. I did, and now I’m hooked.

I just finished Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson, a Walt Longmire Mystery and I’m grateful Eric recommended it. This is actually the third book in the series, but reads nearly like a stand alone novel. The characters are written well and are fleshed out quickly enough that even though I didn’t read the two books prior to this, I felt I understood their backgrounds and knew them after only a couple of dozen pages.

Walt Longmire, Absaroka County, Wyoming sheriff, travels to the Philadelphia with his close friend and Cheyenne Indian (don’t call him a Native American), Henry Standing Bear, to visit his daughter Cady, a workaholic, up and coming lawyer. Before Longmire has a chance to see his daughter, she is knocked unconscious and ends up in the hospital in a coma. Longmire sets out to discover what really happened to his daughter the night she was hurt and ends up entangled with Cady’s ego-centric boyfriend, Philidelphia’s drug kingpin, a dirty assistant district attorney and a mysterious “white Indian” who is trying to protect him. Work into the story the family of his deputy, Victoria Moretti (Vic), aka The Holy Terror, and you have all sorts of fireworks ready to be lit. The American west meets east coast swagger.

Well written, filled with subtle humor and lacking nothing in good plot or characters, Craig Johnson has written a book that branded me a fan. I am going back to read the first two books of the series, Cold Dish and Death Without Company and hoping he has a fourth book in the works- at the rate I devoured Kindness Goes Unpunished, I’ll be done with the first two within the week.

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