The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire Series #5)

The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire Series #5)

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 Western Star

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.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143117315
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/25/2010
Series: Walt Longmire Series , #5
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 32,680
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 920L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Reading Group Guide

1. Who is the novel's dark horse?

2. Is Walt willfully trying to lose his reelection campaign? Would his life be easier if he were no longer sheriff of Absaroka County? Why do you think he chose to become a lawman instead of a rancher?

3. If Cady marries Michael Moretti, Walt and Vic would find themselves in an even more complicated relationship. Does Walt owe it to Cady to break things off with Vic?

4. Do you agree with Walt's prediction that the potential jurors for Mary Barsad's trial would find her guilty because she shows no repentance?

5. In what way does Absalom's bloody past affect the course of the novel? How would you answer Bill Nolan's question to Walt: “If nobody remembers the history, did it still happen?” (p.131).

6. Does the Powder-River-Pound-Down-Tough-Man Contest help Walt work through his anxiety about Cady? Is physical violence simply an inextricable part of male genetics?

7. For a Wyoming lawman, Walt's distrust of horses comes as something of a surprise. How does it affect your opinion of the good sheriff? Do you believe that animals have an intuitive sense of human intentions?

8. Walt remembers his father saying “the outside of a horse is always good for the inside of a man” (p. 296). What do you think he meant?

9. How much responsibility does Walt bear for Hershel's death? Did his actions needlessly endanger Benjamin's life?

10. Do you approve of the witness protection program? Is it fair that criminals—perhaps murderers themselves—can escape punishment for their crimes by testifying against more serious offenders? Is Cliff Cly's behavior acceptable for an officer of the law?

11. Do you think Wade's brother invited his fate? Why or why not?

Customer Reviews

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The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire Series #5) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 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!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
RaucousRain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked The Dark Horse a lot. The mystery story held my interest, I loved the descriptions of the landscape, and the characters were believable. Sure, Walt Longmire is a wee bit larger-than-life in his focus and dedication to uncovering the truth, however any good Western hero worth his salt can and should be as clever as the day is long. And the humor ¿ oh, I just loved the way Craig Johnson infused humor into this story! It was a very enjoyable read.
magnumpigg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Definitely one of the best series out there. Completely fleshed-out characters full of moral ambiguity, humor, personal codes of honor, traditions, wit, sadness, human frailties¿The writing style is literate, not mind-numbing simplicity. Dialog is excellent One thing to consider should you give this series a try: If after reading the first (A Cold Dish) and you like it, then read the others very soon after; there are so many little things from prior events that pop into Walt Longmire¿s mind ¿ a site, sound, smell, object ¿ that without the advantage of a recent prior reading, these little mentions might not be remembered and won¿t carry the same weight or impact.
LiteraryLinda on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Dark Horse by Craig JohnsonJohnson¿s ¿The Dark Horse¿ is another page turner in the Walt Longmire series. The story takes place in NE Wyoming in the Powder River Country. A local rancher is found dead and the barn full of his wife¿s horses and the house have all burned. His wife Mary is sitting in the yard with her rifle across her lap crying and confessing that she shot him. Longmire, the sheriff of Absaroka County, goes undercover to the small town of Absalom. There he meets several characters who all have reason to hate the rancher. Did Mary really do it? This is a page turner and had me guessing until very near the end.
mikedraper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Craig Johnson has given us another excellent story with Sheriff Walt Longmire.Walt is given a prisioner to keep at his jail until her arrangement. Mary Barsad is said to have confessed to killing her husband Wade after he locked the barn with Mary's horse in it and burned down the barn.Reading this gem, reminds me of the TV shows of the past with the strong armed sheriff (Matt Dillon). I see that sheriff walking into a saloon and being challanged to a fight by the drunken bully, as did Longmire in this novel.Something in Walt's policeman's guts tells him that Mary Barsad's confession should be looked into. He decides to investigate undercover. He is investigating partly at the request of the sheriff in the county where the death took place.Mary is passive to the investigation and Walt has to do all the work. There are an interesting group of characters from Hershel Vankike, the old ranch hand, to Walt's assistant, Vic (Victoria) Moretti and the town bully, Cliff Clay.Johnson does a fine job describing the west with its traditions and beauty and provides an excellent plot twist that made the story stand out.Highly recommended.
TDoug1853 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This series is certainly better when Sheriff Longmire stays in Wyoming. The Dark Horse is a better than average entry. The characters have a good chemistry, although Vic Moretti is a bit aggressive to be believable. I'll read the next installment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JWood43 More than 1 year 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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago