Michael's Reviews > The Cold Dish

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson
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's review
Dec 04, 2014

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bookshelves: author-s-first-book, award-winner-or-nominee, mystery, police-procedural, read-in-2010, reviewed, series
Read in February, 2010

3 1/2 stars.
Four white high school students lure a female American Indian high schooler to a meeting and rape her in a cruel and brutal manner. The woman, Melissa Little Bird, suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome and her reasoning powers are impaired.

The trial ends with a sentence of two years suspended and then probation. The Indian community is incensed with the light sentence.

Two years later, the ring leader is found dead. Sheriff Walt Longmere is attempting to make sense out of the killing when another of the boys is killed in the same manner. Now Walt knows he's dealing with a revenge killing and wonders why the killer waited two years and if he can protect the other two boys.

We follow the story with interesting characters and crisp dialogue. It is an interesting start but the characters don't ring true. The contrast between what is said and the character makes the reading less believable. For instance, Walt is living in a home he built years ago but stopped when his wife died. The home is unfinished and doesn't even have a door to the bathroom. In addition, as a Viet Nam vet, Walt has to be in his sixties. With all of this background, his friend, Henry Standing Bear is trying to fix him up and encourage him to begin dating. We also learn that there are other women in town interested in Walt as a partner. I don't see the attraction. The description of Walt would seem to turn most women completely off.

The conclusion is long in coming and when it does, the actions of one of the main characters were directly opposite the personality the description that the character had to that point.

All in all, there were many well done scenes and the description of the countryside was well done. It is easy to see why this author is having success with his future works.

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