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Dead Run: The Murder of a Lawman and the Greatest Manhunt of the Modern American West

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  204 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
Evoking Krakauer's Into the Wild, Dan Schultz tells the extraordinary true story of desperado survivalists, a brutal murder, and vigilante justice set against the harsh backdrop of the Colorado wilderness

On a sunny May morning in 1998 in Cortez, Colorado, three desperados in a stolen truck opened fire on the town cop, shooting him twenty times; then they blasted their way
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by St. Martin's Press (first published March 19th 2013)
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(showing 1-30 of 621)
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Apr 05, 2013 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dead Run, Dan Schultz's account of the Four Corners manhunt, which began in 1998 with the execution of an Arizona police officer named Dale Claxton and escalated into a fruitless ten-year search over hundreds of square miles, is really three books in one. At its heart is the forementioned manhunt, which involved not just multiple police precincts and Native American tribes but state agencies and even the FBI, all to capture three anti-government survivalists who stockpiled automatic and semi-aut ...more
May 17, 2013 Sylvia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I lived in Cortez during the craziness of this incident, and I either knew or regularly saw some of the people involved, so I wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it.

I can see how it could be a big challenge trying to piece together this story when so many of the facts may never be uncovered. Some of the book is quite speculative, but I'm not sure you could write a book about this incident without speculating to some degree. I have always been skeptical that all the fugitives commi
Claudia Putnam
Gripping read. Not sure how I missed this event as it unfolded, but I have absolutely no memory of it. Probably because I was in the middle of a divorce and it was before the Internet was big and I only kept a TV around for the occasional rented movie.

The author frames this story well, with a worthwhile discussion of our ambivalence toward outlawry, and the mythic status we grant our outlaws even as we know they did wrong. After all, as he points out (and as my in-progress novel points out), Bu
Shaine Gans
Jun 24, 2015 Shaine Gans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a native to Montezuma County where some of this crime spree occurred, I appreciate the author's unfurling of this saga. The context provides about the suspects' backgrounds and lives deepened my understanding of the events that transpired. Equally, curious were the speculations about the suspects' motives and the connection to a grander plot, that fortunately was never realized.
Mar 10, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
True crime. Anti-government paranoia boils over in the Four Corners region when members of self-styled militia steal a tank truck and start shooting. An anti-federalist tin-star sheriff impedes the investigation. Were the fugitives trying to blow up the Glen Canyon dam?
Todd Stockslager
Jun 01, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
Review title: The decline and fall of the Modern outlaw
Schultz tells an intriguing tale of three loners who leaped and lost. But what were they reaching for?

A police officer in a small western Colorado town pulls over a tanker truck suspected of being stolen, and the brutal chain of violence unleashed that day in 1998 set in motion the manhunt and mystery that Schultz documents. I picked this book up because the title and the dust jacket photo reminded me of Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Ol
Jun 29, 2015 Josie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't live in Cortez during the manhunt, but I was living there in 2007, (spoiler...for news that's now eight years old) when the last body was found. I saw this book on a friend's feed and knew I had to read it as soon as possible.

Generally a well-written book; the chapters on the killers, their lives, and potential motivations were the most descriptive and interesting sections (likely because their parents gave the author a lot to work with). The law enforcement personnel could probably ha
Jul 25, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an absolute white-knuckle ride through a heinous murder, chilling terrorist plot, and amazing display of wilderness survival. I read this in almost zero time, because the author retold this latter-day Wild West outlaw tale with the adrenaline and urgency it deserves. The pacing was incredible, with forays into the past that did not slow anything down, painting a rich picture of the pre-2000 world of the mountain west, and how it relates to our popular (mis)conceptions of the historical ...more
Jes Jones
Nov 14, 2014 Jes Jones rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2016 Alger rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I did not read this all the way through.

There are a few things that I look for in a "true crime" book. Dead Run is pretty much missing all of them. The enormous hole in the heart of this book is that no one knows the real story. The sudden explosion of violence that set off the manhunt was an accident: it was not supposed to happen, it obviously derailed some other carefully plotted secret plan, and everything that followed the murders and pain in Cortez that May morning was a p
Katherine Addison
This is a good book with some flaws.

1. It badly needed one last going over by a weapons-grade copy-editor to fix the persistent punctuation errors, the persistent confusion of "lie" and "lay," the equally persistent confusion of "may" and "might" (why do people even make this mistake? it baffles me), and the occasional use of the almost-right word.

2. It is not Schultz's fault that the narrative he's trying to tell is confusing. The crime, the manhunt, and the investigation all proceeded on diffe
Megan Stafford
I found this book interesting due to the fact that I live in the Cortez area. It was shocking the lack of direction for the police and cooperation across the police forces and FBI as a whole.

Overall, the book is well written, though at some points a dry read. It breaks up well in depth about the police search as well as giving background on the three individuals that are the outlaws in this book. It is seemingly written in chronological order of events. Although there is a lot of information gi
Tim Countryman
Sep 16, 2015 Tim Countryman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-west
I can't imagine the painstaking research to write this book. There are many possibilities to a decade of multiple scenarios, and the ones who should, don't seem to know anything for certain. Dan Schultz took a bizarre set of circumstances where powerful people had agendas and grudges; and ignorance and pride were of such a grand scale it is hard to fathom, and retold it so we could judge for ourselves. This is a well researched account of a mind-bending, true life rampage of the best and brighte ...more
Do you remember this event as it happened? It was not that long ago. A policeman is viciously murdered at a traffic-stop, the three young men responsible ride out of a small western town armed to the teeth -- shooting more police pursuers as they go. They disappear into the desert. A huge (and pathetically disorganized)manhunt ensues. Years pass and remains are finally located but many questions have now arisen. I am reminded of the Jon Krakauer book "Into the Wild" where the author points out, ...more
Mark Stevens
Aug 18, 2013 Mark Stevens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“On a sunny May morning in 1998, three friends in a stolen truck passed through Cortez, Colorado, on their way to commit sabotage of unspeakable proportions.”

In “Dead Run,” Dan Schultz looks back over the last fifteen years at a sensational crime that began with the brutal murder of a small-town cop at McElmo Bridge and he lays out his case that the trio of men had their sights set on blowing up one of two dams, either the Glen Canyon or the Hoover.

“Dead Run” is a gripping true-crime account, we
Jun 16, 2013 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good book, if painful to read at times. If you've ever spent time in the deserts of SE Utah, it's not hard to imagine how difficult it would be for a who's who of local and federal law enforcement, focused on urban crime fighting, to have a difficult time coordinating and flushing out the bad guys. And to imagine the bravery of those officers, wading into unfamiliar territory against a brutal enemy who has already killed or tried to kill every cop they've seen .... I'm glad they all died an ...more
In May 1998 in Cortez, Colorado, three desperados in a stolen truck opened fire on the town cop, shooting him twenty times; then they blasted their way past dozens of police cars and disappeared into 10,000 square miles of the Colorado wilderness. The outlaws eluded the law enforcement officers and a pursuit force of more than seventy-five local, state, and federal police agencies. OK novel with lots of redundant information.
Jul 16, 2013 S I rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a crazy, thoroughly engaging story about three mixed-up survivalist killers who started the largest manhunt in the west (Colorado/Utah borderlands). So many questions still left unanswered for me, but mainly: how do any criminals get caught if law enforcement is this disorganized and uncooperative?! How many of these militant survivalists are living near me? Who were the killers' aides and where are they now? (Goes back to my paranoia about the people in my surroundings...)

Dan Schulz does a
Aug 05, 2016 Tbone rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was a great story and my heart went out to law enforcement and to the famalies of the criminals. It is a pretty crazy story that happens to be true and is a little scary when you realize how people will kill innocent people all for some crazy idealogy or conspiracy theory. Great book though , well written. Was easy to get into and I " wanted" to read it!
Nov 14, 2014 Mpcheek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. I remember this event very clearly and it shaped my view for a while of the area in which it took place. I've always wanted to learn more about what happened and I found this book speculative but, interesting. I'd like to learn more....but, that may not be possible.
Diana Schrader
Aug 08, 2016 Diana Schrader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having been in Cortez and Durango in 2005, I can visualize the area where the story begins. I found it sad and maddening that the Navajo trackers weren't given more credit and credence, possibly allowing the fugitives to be caught in short order. It made me wonder who the "good guys" really were.
Justin Sangster
Jun 02, 2016 Justin Sangster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good...a little complex with names and a little jumpy with th narrative, but overall a fascinating read. Oddly enough, I have no memory of this event in 1998, and since it was the spring and summer of my high school graduation, I think I should remember this. Glad I read it.
Penny Post
Aug 23, 2015 Penny Post rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very gripping true story though piecing things together when there is much more to learn was I'm sure very difficult. I would very much like to know more, but I'm not sure the complete story will ever be uncovered.
Dec 03, 2013 Glenda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took me forever because I was listening to the audiobook, and it possibly would have warranted more than 3 stars had I read it... but I had trouble following all the names and people with the audio version.

I picked the book up because I grew up near there and many of the places mentioned are places I know, and yet, when this happened I don't remember hearing a mention of it (living then in California).

It's a shame that there isn't more known about "why" these guys did what they did, what
Nanako Mizushima
Sep 14, 2015 Nanako Mizushima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A non-fiction account of a local crime (Cortez, Colorado)--well written and interesting. The book gave some ideas about the influence of our Colorado culture and values on crime here.
Dec 01, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good solid reporting. I listen to this as an audio book from the Nashua Public Library. it held my interest over an extended period. It was better than I had expected.

It is nicely structured with a little foreshadowing unrolling the story slowly but making me want to know how exactly did the events unfold.

May 01, 2015 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A study of what can go wrong right after the crime good book I remember it from Americas most wanted
Curtis Edmonds
May 06, 2013 Curtis Edmonds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review is at -

Schultz is a dogged reporter and has clearly mastered the details of the manhunt. He offers two conjectures on disparate aspects of the events. The first has to do with the death of one of the fugitives, reported initially as a suicide. Schultz makes a rational, convincing case that the gunman’s death could not have been suicide and that he was done in by persons unknown --- which could have included renegade law enforcem
May 31, 2013 Kerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Not sure if I liked this book so much because I knew some of the characters in it, (Monte Pilon-one of the killers, and Jerry Martin-Dove Creek Sheriff.)as well as all the areas they were talking about or if it was that it seemed like an action movie.

In 1998 3 men killed a cop in Cortez, CO as he pulled them over in a water truck stolen from Durango. So started the "greatest manhunt of the Modern American West". Little did they know these 3 guys had been planning for just such an event with ant
Lynda Schultz
Mar 29, 2013 Lynda Schultz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I lived in Colorado in the past. It isn't the kind of book I would normally choose. I couldn't out it down! It is a fascinating story and amazing that it is non-fiction. The author really captures the characters and delves deeply not only into the crime but into the three young men who went from no criminal record to being the cause of this largest manhunt in the history of the west. The glimpse into the inner workings of the FBI and the local law enforcement agenci ...more
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