I recently discovered the A&E show “Longmire” and it inspired me to go to the original books. The first in the series is “The Cold Dish” and it finds our hero, Walt Longmire (25 years as Sheriff of Absaroka County Wyoming) clinically depressed and grieving from the death of his wife. He’s not shaving, going to the office or working on his half-finished house. No one can seem to get him out of his misery, not his enigmatic Indian friend Henry Standing Bear, his volatile (and beautiful) deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti, or his daughter Cady who is practicing law in Philadelphia. His faithful companion, Dog, can’t even get a name.
However, when Cody Pritchard is found dead, an old case brings Walt back. Walt arrested Cody and two other young men in the rape and murder of a young backward Northern Cheyenne girl, but the boys only received suspended sentences. Walt has to pull himself together to try and prevent revenge for the others – if indeed it is revenge.
I really enjoyed the cast of characters. Walt is very well read and punctuates his laconic dialogue with Shakespearean quotes. Henry owns the only bar in the small town of Durant. He’s been Walt’s best friend since boyhood. He’s big, strong and is referred to by Walt as “the Cheyenne Nation.” There are lots of other colorful characters. Vic comes from a long line of Philly cops, is spectacularly foul mouthed and transferred to the area because of her husband’s job. She doesn’t "suffer fools gladly.” Another deputy, Branch Connally, is running against Walt for the job of Sheriff. His uncle, the previous Sheriff, Lucien Connally, is old, cantankerous and continually beats Walt at their weekly chess game but is also a useful link to long-past events in the county. I have loved the exposure to Indian culture ever since I read my first Tony Hillerman although this is Cheyenne and Crow, instead of Navaho and Ute.
There’s a unique combination of humor and suspense in the eight Longmire books. I found the same in the TV series. The books are quick reads, especially if you can’t go to sleep until you finished one. Check out the books and then the TV show. I think you’ll like them both.