Letters of Mass Construction

Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson

The subtitle of this book should have been “Longmire Goes to Philadelphia”. I want to start off by saying I enjoyed this book. This is important for me to get across immediately. Johnson is a very good writer with an incredible knack for dialogue and creating memorable characters. I finished the book and will read the next one which is a big deal for me. I read a lot of books and will give up on a book or series in a heartbeat (see this coming Friday’s blog for more on this).

Great, now that I have that out of the way. I am glad this was not the first Longmire book I read. If it had been I would probably not have continued with the series. The plot was not exceptionally good. It felt very forced. Almost as if the author was worried about setting all the books in Wyoming. It was easily the weakest of the first three books. There were whole parts of the plot that pulled me out of the story and made me question the logic of what was happening in Walt’s world. Frankly, several of the characters did things that I just didn’t buy. The first two books were exceptional and raw. I bought completely into the characters and their world. This book took every chance it could get to throw me out of the world. In most books I am done when this starts happening. I have a very sensitive bullshit meter.

Why did I keep reading? Johnson is a master at character interaction. His dialogue jumps off the page. I would say he ranks right up there with Robert B. Parker when it comes to those two traits. This is the highest praise I can give because Parker was a master. I genuinely like all the characters. I care about Walt, Cady, Vic, and Henry. I feel invested. After only three books this is quite a masterful feat.

I will sum this story up fairly quickly. Walt goes to visit his daughter Cady. Something bad happens. The Philadelphia police allow a sheriff to waltz all over their town to solve the bad thing. Walt does some dumb things. Vic does some dumb things. Bad things solved. Everyone goes back to Wyoming. I laugh a lot (remember great dialogue). I get angry a few times. I decide I will read the next book.

The good news is I have read a few reviews and heard from some people I trust that the plot of this book was an aberration and that by the next book Johnson gets back to the business of crafting a great story with a wonderful plot and exceptional dialogue. I know this series has some huge fans and I will probably be in the minority on this book but I can live with that. I am not saying to skip this book. I did mostly enjoy it. I am just saying don’t let it be your first trip into the land of Longmire.

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