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The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire Series #5)

The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire Series #5)

4.4 61
by Craig Johnson

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Walt doubts a confession of murder in this novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cold Dish and Dry Bones, the fifth in the Longmire Series, the basis for the hit Netflix original series LONGMIRE

Craig Johnson's The Highwayman and An Obvious Fact are now available from Viking.


Walt doubts a confession of murder in this novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cold Dish and Dry Bones, the fifth in the Longmire Series, the basis for the hit Netflix original series LONGMIRE

Craig Johnson's The Highwayman and An Obvious Fact are now available from Viking.

Fans of Ace Atkins, Nevada Barr and Robert B. Parker will love The Dark Horse is the fifth installment in New York Times bestselling author Craig Johnson's Longmire Mystery Series, the basis for LONGMIRE, the hit Netflix original drama series. Wade Barsad, a man with a dubious past and a gift for making enemies, burned his wife Mary's horses in their barn; in retribution, she shot him in the head six times, or so the story goes. But Sheriff Walt Longmire doesn't believe Mary's confession and is determined to dig deeper. Unpinning his star to pose as an insurance investigator, Walt visits the Barsad ranch and discovers that everyone in town--including a beautiful Guetemalan bartender and a rancher with a taste for liquor--had a reason for wanting Wade dead.  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Craig Johnson and the Walt Longmire Mystery Series

"It's the scenery—and the big guy standing in front of the scenery—that keeps us coming back to Craig Johnson's lean and leathery mysteries." —The New York Times Book Review

"Johnson's hero only gets better—both at solving cases and at hooking readers—with age." —Publishers Weekly

"Like the greatest crime novelists, Johnson is a student of human nature. Walt Longmire is strong but fallible, a man whose devil-may-care stoicism masks a heightened sensitivity to the horrors he's witnessed." —Los Angeles Times

"Johnson's trademarks [are] great characters, witty banter, serious sleuthing, and a love of Wyoming bigger than a stack of derelict cars." —The Boston Globe

"The characters talk straight from the hip and the Wyoming landscape is its own kind of eloquence." —The New York Times

"[Walt Longmire] is an easy man to like. . . . Johnson evokes the rugged landscape with reverential prose, lending a heady atmosphere to his story." —The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Stepping into Walt's world is like slipping on a favorite pair of slippers, and it's where those slippers lead that provides a thrill. Johnson pens a series that should become a 'must' read, so curl up, get comfortable, and enjoy the ride." —The Denver Post 

"Johnson's pacing is tight and his dialogue snaps." —Entertainment Weekly

Publishers Weekly

In Johnson's superb fifth contemporary mystery to feature Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire (after 2008's Another Man's Moccasins), Walt has his doubts about Mary Barsad's guilt when she confesses to shooting her husband, Wade, after Wade allegedly burned down their barn with all Mary's horses inside. Even though the crime is out of his jurisdiction in a neighboring county, Walt can't shake the feeling that there's more to Mary's story. Posing as an insurance agent, Walt starts poking around the tiny town of Absalom, whose main attraction are the fights at the local bar. He meets an illegal immigrant bartender with a knack for crime solving, the Barsads' loyal cowhand and some ranchers who may have had their own reasons for wanting Wade dead. Walt digs deep into the dilapidated town's history, unearthing secrets that might be better left buried. Series fans will delight in seeing Walt return to his cowboy roots as he mounts a horse and navigates the sparsely populated state. 8-city author tour.(June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

In his fifth outing (after Another Man's Moccasins), Sheriff Walt Longmire goes undercover to prove that Mary Barsad, confessed murderer, did not kill her husband after he shot her horses and set the barn on fire. Walt finds that there is a lot more going on in Wyoming's remote Powder River area, as he meets a cast of characters with much to hide. VERDICT While not as hardboiled as C.J. Box's crime thrillers nor as humorous as J.M. Hayes's "Mad Dog and Englishman" series, Johnson's deft, twisty storytelling immediately grips the reader. His latest has a heart as big as a Wyoming sky.

—Jo Ann Vicarel
Kirkus Reviews
The Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyo., follows a hunch to free an allegedly self-made widow. Though his jail is housing confessed killer Mary Barsad, Walt Longmire has a feeling the horse-loving lady is innocent. Prescription drugs found in her system have left her with little appetite and even less ability to focus on the here and now. Posing as an insurance adjuster, Walt goes to the Powder River country to sniff around. His welcome is less than warm. On the night of the murder, Wade Barsad's ranch house and barn were destroyed by fire, along with his wife's prize cutting horses-all except for Wahoo Sue, Mary's favorite, whom Barsad claimed to have taken out and shot. The long list of people happy to see Wade dead includes his hired hand Hershel Vanskike, whose hopes of fortune rest in an antique rifle, and just about everybody else in a three-county area. When Walt rents a room in Absalom, only a Guatemalan bartender and her half-Cheyenne son Benjamin are willing to talk to him. Though he tries to keep a low profile, Walt gets pushed into fighting Cliff Cly, king of the local Friday night fights. It turns out that Barsad was in the witness protection program and had a lot more enemies than the locals he'd antagonized. After a trip with Hershel and Benjamin to Twentymile Butte shows Cly in a new light, only a meeting with Wahoo Sue saves Walt from death. Walt's fifth (Another Man's Moccasins, 2008, etc.) is stunningly descriptive and compulsively readable.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Walt Longmire Series , #5
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.70(d)
920L (what's this?)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.

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The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire Series #5) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
CKCrigger More than 1 year ago
If you've read the previous Walt Longmire mysteries (Johnson is the 2009 Spur Winner for Another Man's Moccasins), you may already have your copy of the next book, The Dark Horse on pre-order. If Craig Johnson's series is new to you, you're in for a treat. If these western mysteries are already on your "must read" list, you know Walt is the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. You also know he's a tough, fair-minded law officer who won't quit until he solves a case, no matter what the odds. This time the mystery involves a woman who has confessed to a murder many, including the sheriff of the neighboring county, don't believe she committed-not that the victim, her husband, didn't deserve it. He did, after all, set the barn on fire with her prized horses inside it. Walt has agreed to go undercover to discover the truth, and he's lacking the back-up of his trusted deputies. But Longmire's not without resources. There's the little bandit, who has an endearing habit of chewing on his hat's stampede strings; there's an illegal alien named Juana with two years of law enforcement training and a yen to use it; an old cowboy who may himself be involved in the murder; and of course, Henry Standing Bear, also known as "The Cheyenne Nation." And then there's Wahoo Sue, a prominent player as Walt and his crew unravel events and outrun a ticking clock in a race against death. Johnson has created a wonderful cast of characters in his Walt Longmire series. Each individual springs to life and fills an important role in the story. Walt is a protagonist who is wearing well even after five books, a law enforcement officer who truly realizes he's there to serve and protect. Johnson nails the Wyoming setting, and includes just enough landscape details to put the reader in the picture. The Dark Horse is a book you won't want-no, you won't be able-to put down until the final page.
wyoming-girl More than 1 year ago
Craig Johnson brings another dimension to his character of Sheriff Walt Longmire with a captivating story of an accused woman Walt believes may be innocent. Walt attempts to take his bigger-than-life persona undercover in a small Wyoming town with varying results. Without his usual companions in fairly constant attendance, Walt must work out the murky details he is able to unearth. As usual, Craig Johnson is able to make us see the grit of small town Wyoming and the various colorful people that live there. He shows us once again that things may not always be as they seem on the surface and that a dark horse should never be overlooked.
BobInSanDiego More than 1 year ago
I consider myself an animal lover, but horses are far from my favorite animal. Johnson's believable description of a remarkable animal raised my respect for horses several notches. I am reading the Longmire series in order, and I think this one is my favorite so far. Probably due to minimal blood shed, a glimpse into Walt's early life, and some clever twists.
beebeeBookPal More than 1 year ago
With a respect for the Wyoming country life, and especially rodeo, this book creates great portraits of the spousal suspect in this murder and the alleged husband arsonist -quote- victim- unquote that destroyed the homestead and ranch, burning the horses inside the barn. You know the sheriff's a good egg when he tucks the ranch manager into bed and seeks to find alternative explanations for a quote - murderess' confession -unquote that landed a desolate woman in his jail. Recommended highly and the tone IS different from the Longmire series.
nana-et-al More than 1 year ago
Excellent! Excellent characters and excellent plot. Had me guessing until the end.
maggie70GA More than 1 year ago
Craig Johnson has a real talent for making his novels come to life, Eagerly waiting for new releases.
STORE NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you don't know Craig Johnson's series with Walt Longmire you should!!
JWood43 8 months ago
One of Craig Johnson's best yet!
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson It was her story that did not quite fit, the elegant lady who was housed in his jail made the sheriff try something out of the ordinary to find the truth. Taking his own wits and no back up he went to find the truth of her story, he found more then he bargained for. And even his First Nation pal barely was able to help him through this escapade. A look at corruption, the truth and the lies we tell ourselves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Angie_Lisle More than 1 year ago
This book broke with the usual formatting, jumping back and forth in a relatively short period of time. This didn't bother me in the slightest; I thought it was interesting to see Johnson tackle a different narrative style. Keeps the series interesting. As for the plot itself... I figured out parts of the crime early because I have a health issue that helped me identify clues but I don't think this will affect the majority of readers. Longmire the show is true to Longmire the book-series in the same way that Midsomer Murders is true to Caroline Graham's books: the show captures the essence of the characters but takes liberties with plots, which keeps both formats fresh for viewers. I've also mentioned that each new book in the series makes these deviations more apparent but this book was like a paused stop-watch; the threads that deviate fall by the wayside for this book - not ended, but not important...yet. This book is mostly Walt, with his usual supporting cast of characters elsewhere, off doing other stuff and, to be frank, I missed them. But, since the plot-deviations between book and show involve on-going romantic threads, this book is a great example of why I prefer romances written by men and geared for male audiences. The romance isn't given preference over everything else going on in the story-world. Other stuff -crime- happens. The romance builds slow and steady over a long course of time and, in the end, helps both the characters and the relationships feel more real than the ones displayed in poorly-disguised bodice-rippers touted as westerns. The separation of Walt from the other characters felt like romance building for future books and that is something that will endear me to the series as a whole, when it's completed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of The Walt Longmire series and Craig Johnson. Dark Horse is on my read twice list. One of the best in the series IMO, a must read
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love a good mystery intertwined with wilderness and small towns, you'll be hooked!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think there's still a lot about Longmire we don't know! Great character, very thoughtful book.
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sv15 More than 1 year ago
Have been reading the series down to the last one, loved them
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