Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Western Reviews

Been reading a lot of westerns lately. Here are some capsule reviews.

Outlaw Ranger, by James Reasoner:
G. W. Braddock is a man of principles, a Texas Ranger striving to live up to the legacy of his father and to his own beliefs. He's made his home with the Rangers, but when political enemies go after the troop and force cuts in manpower, Braddock finds himself let go and adrift. He may not wear the Ranger badge legally anymore, but morally he's still a ranger and there's plenty of work to do along the frontier. Very fine story with a lot of action and some contemplative moments. Braddock struggles not only against outlaws and murderers, but against the memory of a father who had a complicated story of his own. I've never been let down yet by a James Reasoner story

 Day of the Dollar, by Ty Johnston:
This is a western screenplay. Very much of a spaghetti western type of setting and plot. It was fast moving, with more description than you typically see in screenplays. I liked that. Fun characters and a fun setting. Made me feel like I was watching a lost Man with No Name western.

One Against a Gun Horde, by Richard Prosch:
This is a collection of short western tales from Richard Prosch. The collection as a whole is very strong. My favorite was the last piece, "Police Escort." These stories are also rather unique in the western field by not being shoot-em-ups. The stories hinge primarily on character, with a healthy dose of humor.

Seven out of Hell (Edge #8), by George G. Gilman:
Another Edge book with a lot of flashbacks to incidents in the Civil War. I tend to like these. Not much of an ending on the main story. More a series of anecdotes and I guess set up for the next in the series. Still, not bad reading.

Last Chance Canyon, by James Reasoner:
What an excellent story. I loved this one. It combined my love of westerns with horror and I found it a compelling read. Highly recommended!

By the Gun, by Richard Matheson:
A collection of six longish short western stories from Richard Matheson. He proves adept at this genre, as he was with other genres. There's a bit of sameness in several of the tales, which keeps it from earning 5 stars from me. I might suggest reading one, then giving yourself a break before reading another. Good stories, though.

Doc Holliday, by Matt Braun
This is the first Matt Braun book I've read but I already ordered two more. I liked it a lot. Of course, I've always been rather interested in the character of Doc Holliday. Although I don't know the specific history, I'm pretty sure Braun took a lot of liberties with Holliday's life. That's OK. I didn't read it as a biography. The character was well drawn and there was quite a few interesting developments. I did think the book was probably a little longer than it needed to be and sections of it were pretty similar to other sections. Yet, it certainly kept me reading. It actually ends before Deadwood and the shoot out at the OK corral. I thought that would mean a sequel but apparently there is none.

King Colt, by Luke Short:
Pretty good. I didn't find it a real page turner but it kept me interested throughout. The basic plot is that a good guy has to turn outlaw temporarily to prove who the real criminal is.
Redemption Hunters, by James Reasoner:
This is the second in the "Redemption" series by James Reasoner. We return to the town of Redemption, Kansas, where a former Texas cowboy named Bill Harvey has become Sheriff. This time Harvey faces off against outlaws and a group of Pawnee who have jumped the reservation. The town is caught in the middle. Good solid storytelling.



Randy Johnson said...

I've read most of these or have them in the queue.

Brian Miller said...

read the doc holiday book by braun and enjoyed it...reasoner def never disappoints...i believe he passed away a few years ago if i am not mistaken...

Ron Scheer said...

My favorite Doc Holliday book is Mary Doria Russell's DOC. Her being a woman may be what gives her a real feel for the subject. I've most recently read Elmer Kelton's Texas Ranger novel, OTHER MEN'S HORSES, which is quite fine and dwells more on character than gunfights and bloodshed. I share your appreciation for Richard Prosch's westerns. He's always there pushing the envelope.

Cloudia said...

"been let go - still morally a Ranger"

resonates with so many losing jobs, but finding ways to keep working....

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= . <3

Ty said...

Thanks for the shout out. I occasionally consider writing more Westerns, and might get around to it eventually.

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy, I would have guessed as much.

Brian, he passed away? Do you mean Braun or Reasoner? James Reasoner is very much alive.

Ron, I haven't read "Doc." I'll have to look for it.

Cloudia, yes, tis true.

Ty, I've got several started if I could ever get around to finishing them.

Riot Kitty said...

I'm not into Westerns, but what a great review line: "I've never been let down by..."

Of course, you can use that inversely when a writer has royally wasted your time.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I want to read every one of these authors. Western is one of my favourite genres and yet I have read so little from it.

the walking man said...

The Hamtramk MI library is closing, they are selling all their books starting today at 10 am. More illiteracy in the urban jungle.

(Hamtramk is a city totally surrounded by Detroit)

Charles Gramlich said...

Riot Kitty, I've had some time wasted by writers, that is true.

Prashant, I read a lot when I was young, then got away from it in my middle years, but am coming back around to westerns now.

Mark, sad to hear that. And a lot of those books will go without takers anyway. even if they were to give them away probably.

James Reasoner said...

Thanks for the kind words, Charles. I'm glad you enjoyed the books. I'm pretty sure Matt Braun is still around, too. I don't know him, but we have lots of mutual friends.

Oscar Case said...

Fine reviews, Charles, and that means my reading list will be getting longer.

Richard Prosch said...

Thank you, Charles. These were fun stories to write.

BernardL said...

Very thorough reviews, my friend.

David Cranmer said...

Can't go wrong with James Reasoner.

Charles Gramlich said...

James, yeah, I didn't think Braun was dead but haven't had time to check it out.

Oscar, reading lists never get shorter!

Richard, good stuff!

Bernard, thanks.