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The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire #5)

4.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,287 Ratings  ·  601 Reviews
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 LONGMIRE, the hit Netflix original seriesFans 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 Longmi ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Sep 09, 2013 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

Most people go through their lives believing in things that they never have much contact with - the police, lawyers, judges, and courts. They have an unstated belief in the system; that it'll be impartial, fair and just. But then there's the moment when it comes to them that the police, the courtroom, and the laws themselves are just human, vulnerable to the same shortcomings as all of us, that they're a mirror of who we are, and that's the heartbreaking dychotomy of it all - that the more cont
Dec 27, 2014 Carol. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Review from

I’m a fan of Walt Longmire (first review here), an aging sheriff who represents many solid Western values, including independence, justice and connection to land and history. This is the 5th book in the series, and for me, the weakest. Luckily, I already have the next in the series available.

The story begins with a woman named Mary Barsad who is transferred to Walt’s tiny two-cell ‘jail’ as a means of making space–and revenue. And, just perhaps
Classic Sheriff Walt Longmire! As with all of the mysteries in Johnson's Longmire series, this one includes a cast of vivid and interesting characters, a terrible crime that must be solved and lots of action. In The Dark Horse, Walt is taken out of Absaroka County to Absolom, Wyoming in a neighboring county along the Powder River. A man has been murdered and then incinerated in a fire that also killed several horses. The man's wife has confessed to the killing, but Longmire is certain that she d ...more
May 11, 2012 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not know if mildly depressed Wyoming Sheriff’s and Northern Cheyenne Indian’s are usually this funny, but I look forward to each book in the Walt Longmire series for this sole purpose. I am not going to say that Walt Longmire has a death wish, but that man sure can find himself in questionable situations. Who else in their right might would try to go undercover in a town of forty people and not think that there might possibly be a chance of being shot at? Yeah, that should tell you a little ...more
Feb 08, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: western and mystery readers
Shelves: western, 2016
This is Walt Longmire in western mode and at the same time him doing a PI stint in another county.

It all starts when a certain Mary Barsand get a cell in Longmire's county jail, she did confess to the murder of her husband by shooting him six times in the head. At the same time her farm and horses got burned in a great fire. When Walt gets her talking he finds himself doubting her guilt.

Walt Longmire goes undercover and he does not do a very good job as more and more people seem to know about hi

This is where we look at Walt's life as if in a great Western. Walt reconnects with his past and connects with a huge, black beast: tortured, chained in place and left alone to die in the middle of the great plains, far away from civilization, in the snow, and wounded beyond belief:

It was then that I saw something at the far edge of the circle. It was something dark and big, and it was rapidly moving my way. I thought it was the owl again, even thought it was the wrong color and didn't se
Feb 05, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-rural-crime
This is book 5 in the Walt Longmire series. I enjoyed it and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Walt Longmire is the Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. The author says he is the Sheriff of "the least populous county in the least populous state." He accepts prisoners from other counties to help out with his budget. Mary Barsad is transferred to his jail from Campbell County. She is accused of murdering her husband. She confessed to the murder. But Walt suspects she is innocent. Her husband was accused o ...more
Bruce Snell
Oct 01, 2012 Bruce Snell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Number Five in the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson. Walt is working undercover in a neighboring county, seeking evidence that a murder suspect currently housed in his jail is not guilty of the murder to which she has confessed.

The story is told in alternating chapters with the first chapter being set in the present, and the next set several days ago when Walt first became involved with the case. The chapters continue to alternate with the "present" advancing in time as the investigat
Joel Neff
This was the first of the Longmire books to do less than stun me into an engrossed trance and I am hard pressed to put a finger on why. The action is good, the mystery is good, the story is, in short, good. But. There were two problems I had reading the book that are neither one a fault of the book itself and more to do with the circumstances surrounding it: the first problem is that this story was used as the basis for an episode of the television show. It was, of course, different on t.v. and ...more
Dillwynia Peter
Nov 26, 2015 Dillwynia Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last two in the series have not won me over, and I was beginning to think I should give it up as an unlucky fluke. An then this one came along an gave me faith. The last two have either been set in a big city (Philadelphia) or dealt with Vietnam. This one however, goes back to the region that suits Longmire best - the Wyoming plains.

Johnson appears to be more comfortable when dealing with horses, and the countryside, and the local characters that make up these small hard plains towns. Thus,
Craig Johnson is always a sure thing. Walt, Vic, Henry and Dog are back with a risky, fly by the seat of your pants, covert operation. Walt has taken on a case where the accused is just not fitting his criteria of a murderer and in all good conscience cannot let this sleeping dog lie. A woman is accused of killing her husband and burning down their house and barn. It just so happens that it was located out in one of the roughest parts of the Wyoming countryside. Walt goes sleuthing around under ...more
Amy Sturgis
This is a solid continuation of the Longmire series. When a confessed murderer is sent to Walt Longmire's jail to await trial, he becomes convinced she is innocent. His personal investigation sends him to Absalom (population 40), where he finds more than he bargained for, including a dose of his own past. I missed Absaroka County and especially its people (Henry Standing Bear, Vic Moretti, etc.), who are sidelined to a large degree, but I appreciate the classic Western motifs in play in this wor ...more
May 13, 2016 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, series
The Hook - The need for a moderately light read, a fill-in book.

The Line”Makes you wonder if he was dropped on his head as a child or if he was eating fucking paint chips like they were Cool Ranch Doritos, doesn’t it?”— Deputy Vic Moretti

The SinkerThe Walt Longmire Series is purely comfort reading. You pick one up and you know what you’re going to get. It’s that kind of relationship where you haven’t seen a friend for a while but can pick right up where you left off. In Dark Horse, the fi
Oct 11, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Walt Longmire
This entry into the Walt Longmire Mysteries is an interesting one. While the actual mystery, unraveling the truth of what happened between an unhinged wife and the loathsome husband she already confessed to killing, doesn't take him far from home -- just into the next county -- it gives us a number of new perspectives on the protagonist and the setting. This is a reoccurring theme of the series, which, to its credit, is far more character driven than most mysteries.

This book serves as a bit of
Sep 18, 2009 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the unabridged audio book version of this.

This was just a great book. I have nothing but good things to say about this story. The Dark Horse is an excellent example of what a character driven story line should be. Craig Johnson created an interesting, likeable, and somewhat sarcastic main character in Walt Longmire. What guy didn't want to be the cowboy type when he was a child?

Between the strong but simplistic plot, the great supporting characters like Henry Standing Bear and Dog
Greg McClay
Sep 09, 2014 Greg McClay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I happened to watch the Longmire tv epsiode (S1 E3 "A Damn Shame") based on this plot prior to reading the book, which in some sense spoiled it while I read because I thought I knew what was coming but in fact made it that much better because there is almost no relationship between the characters of the two stories. Plot overlap, yes, but a significant difference in character development. So the last 100 pages were a definite plus. Boy, howdy.

I find Longmire to still have the Eeyore type qualit
Momof3-in an Ash and Cael sandwich
4 stars. I'm not a fan of the flashbacks, but I did like the way this story unfolded. Walt still has a lot going on--with his daughter, the election, Vic, etc. and there was something in the way he handled Mary (who I found a little frustrating) that made me fall a little in love with him. That coupled with the brief phone call with Cady. Definitely met some interesting characters this time around.
Will continue with the series.
Oct 09, 2015 Athena rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Frankly I'm reading the Longmire books now because the descriptive writing is well-done, I like the characters, & I've nothing better to read that isn't a re-read. Maybe it's that I'm a Westerner (not WY) but I keep running into issues with his writing that throw me. It's like those TV shows that have cops from other countries enforcing the law in New York City without the benefit of a throwaway line like 'The Mayor says it's ok'. Suspension of disbelief requires getting at least the basics ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Tilia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Walt Longmire has a funny feeling about Mary Barsad, the woman in his holding cell. Like, maybe she didn't actually kill her brute of a husband. Even though he deliberately burned down their stable with all her horses in it. So, posing as an insurance investigator (readers might want to shelve their disbelief right about now), Longmire visits the charred remains of the Barsad ranch, and starts chatting with the locals. No one seems too fond of the late Wade Barsad, but murder is still murder. Un ...more
I don't know which of the dark horses I loved the most. Probably the dog.
Nov 15, 2015 Marge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I've read by Craig Johnson, as I got number 5 in the series as an audiobook from my library. Now I have to go back and start the series from the beginning. I'm very happy to find a great mystery series with such an excellent cast of characters, of course headed by Walt Longmire himself. I love the characters, especially Walt, Henry Standing Bear, and the boy Benjamin.

The storyline was interesting and I had several surprises as the plot moved along. The humor was outstand
Jamie Collins
3.5 stars. Longmire goes undercover (to the general amusement of his staff) to try to resolve a murder mystery that’s out of his jurisdiction and really none of his business, but he can just tell by looking at the haunted, distraught, and incidentally lovely suspect that she’s an innocent woman.

It’s not an exceptional murder mystery, but I liked the alternating, converging timelines. The secondary characters are well written, with a lot of personality conveyed in a few pages. There are some typi
B.R. Stateham
Jul 20, 2014 B.R. Stateham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Walt Longmire novel . . . and a good one. The big sheriff from Absaroka County, Wyoming becomes more attractive with each book read in the series (I think there's about 18 of'em). He's big, he's tough, he has a sense of humor and he's humane. Something quite rare to find in this genre; a tough guy who is humane.

The older I get, the harder it is, it seems to me, to find a series that truly captures my attention. Became a fan of the Longmire TV series and thought I'd try the books. Turns o
Sep 21, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing
"He didn't like animals, and I don't trust people that don't like animals. Hell, animals are the finest people I know."

When their barn containing several horses is burned down and her husband is found shot to death, Mary is arrested. She admits to shooting her husband in retaliation for killing her prized horses. Her arrest occurs in a neighboring county but the sheriff doesn't have room so he asks Walt to keep her in one of his cells until she is taken to prison. Walt quickly figures out there
Dick Reynolds
Aug 14, 2015 Dick Reynolds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All the Absaroka County folks are back again to help Sheriff Walt Longmire solve the latest crime. Deputy Vic Moretti is feisty as ever wanting to engage Walt in a bit of romantic action. Although he introduces her as an Under-Sheriff — a clever double entendre by Author Johnson? — Walt has scruples about mixing pleasure with business. Henry Standing Bear appears about half way into the book as a boxing contestant but gives Walt plenty of help later. Besides trying to focus on his law-enforceme ...more
Jan 27, 2015 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is #5 in the well written Walt Logmire series by Craig Johnson. I really enjoyed this book. The story had me guessing all along and the ending was very surprising. Craig Johnson continues to write these mysteries so well.

The only complaints I had about this book, and there are relatively minor, are, first, I did not care for the way Johnson has us going back and forth between the present and the past. I found that a little distracting. Second, there wasn't enough of Henry Standing Bear, Sh
Craig manages to entertain and teach his readers a thing or two in this series.

"When the gladiators died in the Coliseum, men in costumes came out and sprinkled sand to soak up the blood between bouts. The word for sand in Latin is harena- hence, arena."

This statement made me think that boxing is just a version of arena days of the Coliseum age. Spectators actually cheering on men to beat the crap out of each other for their entertainment and everyone likes it better when its a knock out situat
Apr 11, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of hard for a 6'5" guy to go undercover in a dried up town of 40, seemingly mostly heartless, citizens. But Walt gives it a go, because his soul tells him the prisoner in his jail is innocent. No matter that she's plead guilty. No matter all the evidence to the contrary.

I blew through all the Jack Reacher books, and overall enjoyed them, despite some issues. Now I've stumbled on Walt Longmire, and have decided he's all the good of Reacher with absolutely none of the bad. Walt has a soul, b
Kathleen Hagen
The Dark Horse, by Craig Johnson, B. Narrated by George Guidall, produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

This is the fifth in the Sheriff Walt Longmire series about a Wyoming sheriff. I actually found this book disappointing. First of all, any book that doesn’t have much of Henry in it in this series is disappointing to me. In this book, Sheriff Longmire is asked to hold a female prisoner for another county which doesn’t have room. She is accused of murdering her husband by shoot
Kathy Davie
May 17, 2013 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fifth in the Walt Longmire mystery series about a Wyoming sheriff and his own sense of justice.

This story was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year in 2010 as well as aDilys Award nominee.

My Take
This one was a pip. Sure, it's your typical mystery in that the good guy is investigating a murder. It's not so typical for a Walt Longmire as he's hunting around, undercover, in another man's jurisdiction, without much backup.

The flashbacks were odd---be sure to read the chapter starts as Johnson fl
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

American novelist and playwright. He lives in Ucross, near Sheridan, Wyoming, population 25.

Johnson has written nine novels featuring Sheriff Walt Longmire: The Cold Dish, Death Without Company, Kindness Goes Unpunished, Another Man's Moccasins, Junkyard Dogs, The Dark Horse (which received starred reviews from
More about Craig Johnson...

Other Books in the Series

Walt Longmire (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1)
  • Death Without Company (Walt Longmire, #2)
  • Kindness Goes Unpunished (Walt Longmire, #3)
  • Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire, #4)
  • Junkyard Dogs (Walt Longmire, #6)
  • Hell Is Empty (Walt Longmire, #7)
  • As The Crow Flies (Walt Longmire, #8)
  • A Serpent's Tooth (Walt Longmire, #9)
  • Any Other Name (Walt Longmire, #10)
  • Dry Bones (Walt Longmire, #11)

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“I should protect and cherish the young, the old, and the infirm, because at some point I would be all of these things before my own journey ended.” 10 likes
“I don't trust people who don't like animals. Hell, animals are the finest people I know.” 7 likes
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