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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Kindness Goes Unpunished by Craig Johnson

This book, #3 in the Longmire series, has a marvelous first sentence: “ I should have brought my gun.”  Gradually, it’s revealed that he’s reading a Grimm’s Fairy Tale to some first graders. “My dad thinks you’re a butthole,” chimes in one. “You shoulda brought your gun,” says another.

Walt and Henry (and Dog) travel to Philadelphia to meet Walt’s daughter Kate’s boyfriend and his family. Since Vic is also from Philadelphia, Walt uses the opportunity to visit with her mother. Henry is participating in a Native American art exhibit at the Art Museum.  Before he gets a chance to see her, Katie is badly injured in a fight with her boyfriend who seems to be disliked by virtually everyone.  Then the boyfriend takes a flying leap off the Benjamin Franklin bridge. And the bodies begin to pile up.

One little tidbit I picked up was that American Indians intensely dislike the white name for them:  “Native Americans,” since they don’t consider themselves American.  At least according to Craig Johnson who should know, I guess.

George Guidall does his usual fine job of narration. EXCEPT for one HUGE mispronunciation that I have heard from other readers of books that take place in Philadelphia.  The Schuylkill River is pronounced “schoo-kill” although the official pronunciation is “school-kill” but definitely *not* “sky-kill,” as anyone who grew up in the area knows full well.  

Couple problems I had with this book that made it less interesting than the others of the series I’ve read. Moving characters out of their home territory into an alien environment is always tricky. Walt is smart, granted, but on occasion he outsmarts the Philadelphia cops without even knowing the city.  The business with Vic in front of her mother was a bit ridiculous. The Indian medicine ceremony in the ICU was absurd.  Still, Johnson’s books have a nice mix of humor and character interaction.

I would recommend reading this series in order.  In this title particularly, if you don’t know the characters and some of their backstory, you might be a little flummoxed.
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