LJ's Reviews > The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson
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Jul 08, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: contemporary_post_1945, male_author, mystery, police_procedural, wyoming
Read in June, 2009

First Sentence: It was the third week of a high-plains October, and an unseasonably extended summer had baked the color from the landscape and had turned the rusted girders of the old bridge a thinned-out, tired brown.

Mary Barsad is accused of having shot her husband six times in the head and burning down their house, with his body in it, after he allegedly burnt down the barn with her beloved horses locked inside.

Not everyone believes Mary is guilty. Sheriff Walt Longmire has gone undercover to investigate.

I am an admitted fan of Johnson’s writing. He creates such a strong sense of place that you are taken into the story and into the settings. His words bring the scenes to life.

He does the same with his characters, both human and inhuman. There is just enough description and back story with personalities vivid enough that you feel you come to know them. The dance that goes on between Walt and his deputy/lover, Vic, is amusing and enticing. The friendship between Walt and Henry Standing Bear—the Cheyenne Nation—is one to be envied and respected. …and then there’s Dog.

Johnson knows how to build a plot and, with it, continually escalate the suspense. There was a twist I probably should have seen coming, but it was so effectively done, I didn’t which I really appreciated. He has a voice that speaks to the reader, whether it is his wry humor, the emotion he brings to the story, the touch of mysticism, or the sense of justice.

I thought, at first, I might be put off by the changes in time, as the story unfolds. I should know better than to doubt Mr. Johnson’s skill. I was not at all distracted and they, in fact, added to the intrigue and suspense of the story. This was an excellent story. My only disappointment is in having to wait another year for the next one.

THE DARK HORSE (Pol. Proc-Walt Longmire-Wymoing-Cont) – Ex
Johnson, Craig – 5th in series
Viking, 2009, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780670020874

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