Book Review: Craig Johnson’s Kindness Goes Unpunished

Posted February 20, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Craig Johnson’s Kindness Goes Unpunished

Kindness Goes Unpunished


Craig Johnson

It is part of the Walt Longmire #3 series and is a mystery in Hardcover edition that was published by Viking Adult on March 15, 2007 and has 288 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books in this series include Wait For Signs

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Cold Dish, Death Without Company, Another Man's Moccasins, Christmas in Absaroka County, Dark Horse, Junkyard Dogs, Hell is Empty, As the Crow Flies, Spirit of Steamboat, A Serpent's Tooth, Any Other Name, Wait For Signs, Dry Bones, The Highwayman, "Eleven/Twenty-Nine", An Obvious Fact, The Western Star

Third in the Walt Longmire mystery series about a cowboy sheriff and his friends and coworkers. Only this one takes place on a visit to see his daughter in Philadelphia.

If you're interested, there is a chronological listing of the Walt Longmire books on my website.

My Take

Whew. This was another good one! Seriously, do not miss this installment. There is so much happening in this wonderfully homey story!

For all that it takes place off Walt's usual stomping grounds, he's still a cop and understands their ways. And it's a pleasant switch from the usual territoriality of cops who don't want some outsider on their turf.

Walt and Henry meet Vic's family and come to understand what makes her who she is. It's certainly fascinating to watch the family in action. Tremendous events revolving around Cady during and, even better, after.

There are lies on both sides of the legal fence here, and some are better than others. Lots of very clever maneuvers — and I'll bet the Philly PD welcome Walt back any time. I'm sure the hospital could use more of Henry's help. It is pretty funny how matter-of-fact Henry is over using his medicine inside the hospital with a whole lotta fascinated medical personnel watching from the sidelines. I'm not sure if they were awestruck or dumbfounded, LOL.

Too funny:
"Vic the father, Vic the son, and Vic the Holy Terror."

I'll leave you to guess who the last one is…

Johnson knows how to bring Walt down to size. All it takes is storytime.

Then there's mom's comment about:

"Unlike with girls, you only have to worry about one prick."

One of the things I like about this series is Johnson's casual back-and-forth with Walt and Henry's friendship. The two are aware that Walt is a white man and that Henry is Native American. They will use it to confound someone, but on the whole, they don't care. It's a great way to learn something about the Native American culture without having it thrust down one's throat.

The Story

Henry's been invited to give a lecture at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. A great opportunity for Walt to visit his daughter, in spite of the DA's plans to run for sheriff!

It gets exciting enough that Vic flies back to help.

The Characters

Walt Longmire is the sheriff in Absaroka County in Wyoming with a daughter practicing law in Philadelphia. He inherited Dog from Lucian. Henry Standing Bear is Walt's best friend, who runs the Red Pony, and is a great chef. Lola is his 1959 T-bird convertible.

Cady is the daughter Walt is so proud of, and she works at Schomberg, Calder, Dallin, and Rhind. Patti is her so-helpful assistant. Joanne Fitzpatrick is an associate of Cady's. William White Eyes — a White Indian incarcerated for cooking drugs — is a pro bono case Cady was handling. A.k.a., William Carlisle, who has a very comprehensive history of the Notame-ohmeseheestse.

Devon Conliffe is also an attorney and Cady's boyfriend, a possible fianc&eacaute; per the records; not according to him. His father is a judge. ADA Vince "Oz" Osgood is a friend of his with some shared bad habits.

Victoria Moretti is the brilliant, divorced, young undersheriff from Philadelphia whom Walt wants to take over for him when he does retire. She's partnered up with the new guy: Santiago "Sancho" Saizabitoria, a Basque. Jim Ferguson is a part-time deputy. Chuck Frymyer is this story's new-hire.

Lena Moretti is Vic's mom (I can't tell if she's estranged or divorced from Victor…). Uncle Alphonse has a pizzeria that will make you hungry. Victor Moretti, Vic's dad, is a chief inspector and sings opera on the side. Tony and Michael Moretti are street cops; Tony has bad news for Walt.

Detectives Asa Katz and Gowder investigate the deaths in Philadelphia and enlist Walt's help. Even if he is a suspect.

Jimmy Tomko runs the shooting range where the lawyers go to practice. Ian O'Neill runs O'Neill's, a pub Cady frequents. Dr. Rissman is in charge of Cady's case.

Toy Diaz is a local drug kingpin. Shankar DuVall and Billy Carlisle are drug runners with an uneven deal.

The usual cast of characters have cameos as most of the action is in Philadelphia.

Omar Rhoades is "the big dog of international outfitters" and a friend of Walt's. Myra is his estranged wife recently returned to play shoot 'em up.

The Cover and Title

The cover makes me think of a pastel, only, instead of the usual landscape of mountains or plains, it's a bad part of town at night with a cautious Walt in cowboy hat, jacket, and rifle about to step down a lurid backstreet alley of greens, oranges, lights, abandoned vehicles, and puddles.

The title is an interesting contradiction and true enough, for Kindness Goes Unpunished when unexpected aid steps up.