THE DARK HORSE by Craig Johnson
Kirkus Star


Email this review


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.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-670-02087-4
Page count: 322pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2009

Kirkus Interview
Craig Johnson
author of DRY BONES
May 12, 2015

In the latest installment of Craig Johnson’s bestselling Longmire series, Wyoming’s beloved lawman takes on his coldest case yet. When Jen, the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found surfaces in Sherriff Walt Longmire’s jurisdiction, it appears to be a windfall for the High Plains Dinosaur Museum—until Danny Lone Elk, the Cheyenne rancher on whose property the remains were discovered, turns up dead, floating face down in a turtle pond. With millions of dollars at stake, a number of groups step forward to claim her, including Danny’s family, the tribe, and the federal government. "Johnson's crusty sheriff (Any Other Name, 2014, etc.) remains tough, smart, honest, and capable of entertaining fans with another difficult, dangerous case,” our reviewer writes. View video >


MysteryLAND OF WOLVES by Craig Johnson
by Craig Johnson
FictionDEPTH OF WINTER by Craig Johnson
by Craig Johnson
MysteryAN OBVIOUS FACT by Craig Johnson
by Craig Johnson


IndieBIG GAME by Nelson King
by Nelson King
FictionRISE THE DARK by Michael Koryta
by Michael Koryta
IndieThe Ghost at Beaverhead Rock by Carol Buchanan
by Carol Buchanan