Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kindness Goes Unpunished - Craig Johnson

It's been a minute since I finished a book. Just the usual: taxes, a couple false starts on books I decided not to finish. You know. STUFF.

I started watching the Longmire TV series before I picked up one of the Craig Johnson mysteries on which they are based, and by based I mean loosely based, which frankly, is exactly the way things adapted from book series to TV should be. I call it the Harry Potter Problem.

You remember: we were all so frickin' jazzed to see the first Harry Potter movie.... which was (with the exception of the building materials of Hagrid's house) pretty much exactly like the book... which meant that we who had practically committed the thing to memory had no surprises in store. Those of us who are elbowing our way into our dotage find it rather similar to having one of those freaky three-dimensional pictures taken of your baby in utero.  Why do we have to know every little thing about every little thing these days?

Ahem. Longmire. Yes.

Anyway, I read and really, really enjoyed the first Longmire book, The Cold Dish, but seriously bogged down in the second, Death Without Company, and I reckon that got my feet a little cold. I finally picked up Kindness Goes Unpunished since it was lying around the house anyway and it was convenient when I needed another something to pick up.

In this one, Sheriff Walt Longmire, his friend Henry Standing Bear (who gets my vote for coolest side-kick ever), and Dog, the dog, travel to Philadelphia, to visit Walt's daughter Cady. Shortly after they arrive, Cady is the victim of a brutal crime and is badly hurt, her boyfriend (after a confrontation with Walt) winds up dead, and a series of mysterious messages for Longmire put him front and center in the investigation that follows.

I found myself more interested in what was going on with Walt, Henry, Cady, and Walt's deputy, Vic (who winds up in Philly herself well on into the book) than in the solving of the crimes. I'm not sure why, but I just never could get the threads of the story to come together enough to get invested in that aspect of it.

It would be a true thing to say here that I don't read mysteries the way some folks do. I don't really make any attempt to figure things out, and always feel a bit cheated if I manage to finger the killer before he/she is revealed. I do, though, like to at least keep all the players in some semblance of order in my head, and I just couldn't quite do that in this instance.

This is a tricky call, then. I loved reading about all these folks, and some of the personal advances they made (pun intended). There were a couple of times when Walt's visits to his comatose daughter really made me tear up they were so true. I don't really come to a Craig Johnson novel expecting to be moved, and it was a lovey surprise.

But overall, this one will only get *** of ***** from me.  I'll keep reading the series, but I don't feel compelled to race to finish them.

1 comment:

  1. It's always weird when an author takes a series with a strong sense of place to another location. Feels awkward and the cast of supporting characters is missing. The next one returns to Wyoming which is a good thing for this series.