Revenge with a twist

The Cold Dish - Craig Johnson

I am neither a mystery nor a Western genre reader, but I never say never, and a friend compared Craig Johnson's writing to Cormac McCarthy, mashed up with Alexander McCall Smith-- I was intrigued, and gave it a try. 


(I imagine) Bleak & realistic portrayals of poor white & Indian life in the west, occasional fights & not quite horrific gore but Johnson doesn't shy from the descriptive death scene. Coupled with flawed, sympathetic, occasionally vulgar, often hilarious & usually vulnerable characters, the writing drew me in, particularly Sheriff Longmire, who is not only an old-fashioned romantic but just a darned well-written hero muddling through.


The story kept me guessing as to the murder until the end-- suffice it to say it was a twist and had me upset (in the good way of good writing) when I found out whodunnit. Johnson's not afraid to make his world awfully grey.  Very strong cast of "secondary" characters and interesting women.