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By Craig Johnson

Penguin Group, 2010 ($14.00)
ISBN-13: 978-0143117315

Reviewed by Rick McMahan

Like many people, I have piles of books in "To-Read" piles on my bookshelves, and those stacks never seem to grow any smaller. As such, sometimes, I am several books behind with some excellent mystery series. And that's exactly why I just finished THE DARK HORSE by Craig Johnson. Having said that, if you've not been following Johnson's Walt Longmire mysteries, then do yourself a favor and run (don't walk) to your nearest independent bookstore (or if you must, surf on over to an online store) and buy all of them. Treat yourself. Sheriff Walt Longmire is the top-law-dawg in a Wyoming County, and he is definitely a thinking reader's mystery. Written in first person, Longmire's voice as well as the Western setting make these books a treat to read.

In DARK HORSE, Walt is asked to house a murder suspect Mary Barsad, the wife of a scoundrel from another county. Apparently, Mary's husband sold or killed all of her favorite horses, and she waited until he was asleep and parked three slugs from a .22 in his skull. The problem is that Walt doesn't think Mary committed the murder, so trading in his badge and uniform for a black hat, a rental car and a bogus business card, Walt Longmire goes undercover in the small community of Absalom. The first thing Walt learns is that Absalom's not hospitable to outsiders. The second thing he learns is that almost everyone in Absalom had a reason to want Wade Barsad dead, and the line of angry people goes all the way back East where Barsad made, or rather stole, his money. People are wondering where all of the missing money is at? And also whatever happened to Mary Barsad's prized horse?

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