Sunday, December 16, 2012

Philadelphia Story

Title: Kindness Goes Unpunished
Author: Craig Johnson
Bookmark: same lizard, same stick

I may have mentioned that one of the reasons I love the Longmire series is that it makes me homesick for the West.  Despite taking place in Philly, Kindness Goes Unpunished still managed.  Weird, huh?

Walt thinks he's going on vacation.  He expects to be gone from his post two weeks, maybe three.  Henry Standing Bear is driving Lola (the powder-blue T-bird) across the country to exhibit the Mennonite photographs of life on the Reservation (discovered in the previous book) at an art museum in the City of Brotherly Love, and Walt is riding shotgun, with Dog, who will apparently never get a real name, in the back seat.  Walt hopes to spend some time with his daughter Cady, who works in Philly as The Finest Legal Mind of Our Time.  On their first night in town, Bear lands a date (no surprise there), and Walt is left to his own devices.  He meets Lena Moretti, mother to his trusty deputy Vic, and she is with him when he learns that his daughter will not be returning home that night.

Cady has been hospitalized, in a coma after a head injury, and may not wake up.  As one might expect, Walt  immediately begins investigating, arousing the interest of the local detectives, getting himself in trouble, and quickly gaining able assistance from several Morettis.  They discover a much deeper plot of drugs and corruption whose surface Cady had barely scratched when she met with ill will, and although Walt learns early who hurt his little girl, he stays in it until the finish to find out who has been secretly sending him help along the way.

Johnson always does an incredible job of putting very real, believable characters in very real, dangerous situations, and reminding you of how real it is by not flinching from hurting them, sometimes badly.  Throughout the story, Walt remembers how he, Bear, and Dog have been injured in the earlier books, and worrying how much of his daughter will survive her injury in this book.  Whenever he is not actively pursuing a lead or grabbing a quick bite outside, he sits at his daughter's bedside, tears in his eyes, remembering her childhood and hoping for her future.

By putting Walt in a big East Coast city and putting his daughter in a coma, Johnson lands our hero firmly in territories both alien and terrifying, but Walt proves that determination, love, and a little help from his friends can get him through anything, anywhere.

I love these books.

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posted by reyn at 12:37 PM


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