Saturday, August 09, 2008

REVIEW: Kindness Goes Unpunished

Title: Kindness Goes Unpunished
Author: Craig Johnson
Protagonist: Sheriff Walt Longmire
Setting: present-day Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Series: #3
Rating: A

First Line: I didn't wear my gun.

Walt is on a trip to Philadelphia to visit his lawyer daughter, Cady, but the evening he arrives, Cady is critically injured and rushed to the hospital. She's in a coma, and Walt sets aside helping his friend, Henry Standing Bear, with an art exhibit to try to find who did this to her. Just when he's about to close in on Cady's fiance as the culprit, the young man is killed, and now Walt really wants to get to the bottom of this mess.

Although it was rather strange to see Walt out of his beloved Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, it was good to see how he behaved in strange territory. Walt kept his cowboy hat on his head, but (mostly) played nice with the Philadelphians. He's no fool. Walt knew he had to get along with the local police so the crime could be solved. What was, and continues to be, so very good about this series isn't just the plot, but all the complex interactions of the characters. We get to see Walt as a daddy whose little girl might die, and we get to see how the cavalry gallops in to help him. It's almost impossible for me to believe that these characters aren't real--that's how good Johnson is. I've read many mysteries of the lone-wolf-as-savior variety and liked them. However, I think that a book of this type showing a man and his friends and family and how they all love, respect and support each other would be more difficult to write, and ultimately more satisfying to read. Perhaps it's the latent John Donne in me. No man is an island.... Walt Longmire is no island, and we readers are much the richer for it.

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