Sorry I have been so lax in reviewing western stories that I have read. Writing the reviews have been unknowingly difficult. This means I don’t have an answer for the stoppage or a good excuse. In my defense I have been trying to edit a western story that I have written. The voices in my head that generate these stories have only increased and drawn me into a more frenzied writing schedule. I am hoping they will slow down so I can get back to a normal life.

Book Review: Ride the Desperate Trail

This western is a tale about the people in Texas after the Civil War. The story is woven around the multiple racial issues involving blacks and Indians.These issues were faced in various ways by some, but they affected everyone. I enjoyed this story as it ran through the thrill of multiple chases and then being confronted by the real residences the Apache. The chase seems to end many times as Free Anderson the main character is chasing after his kidnapped wife Clara along with his best friend and mustang wrangler, Parks Scott. The driving force pushing Free after his wife is that he knows she is pregnant.

Clara was initially kidnapped by a ruthless murderer Tig Hardy who beat Free’s mother to a slow death and then he planned to use Clara to extract his vengeance on Free. One continuing driving force through the whole story is that Free knows his wife is pregnant with their first child. The murderer is killed by the Apache’s and Clara is then their captive and she becomes the wife of the warrior who captured her.

This western story by the author Mike Kearby is well written, but it may have to many issues for the average western reader. I enjoyed this story and recommend this book to all western readers.

Book Review: Massacre at Goliad

This is a western story generated by a true Texan Elmer Kelton. He gives the reader a personal overview of the Texas landscape that involved various people who moved to the freedom that Texas offered.The main character Josh Buckalew was a true Texan and he was in love, but war with Mexico in the beginning of the story was just around the corner. The Alamo was the disaster that had inflamed most Texans against all Mexicans. Friends were separated and the lines of hate were everywhere.

The scenes and emotions generated events viewed from the prospective of the war with Mexico. The main character which produced the visual backdrop to produce a mind boggling series of events that he would carry with him through out his lifetime. These events are written down with the portrait of how thing really were in this time in Texas history.

I recommend this story to all western readers and this author has all the skills and tools to make any story roll off the pages and into the minds of his readers.

Book Review: Texas Rifles

This western story is set on the the Texas frontier during the Civil War. The main character Sam Houston Cloud is sleeping in his saddle and almost rides into a heard of stolen horses which is being herded by one warrior and six squaws. This is just part of the Comanche raiding party that is stealing horses and killing homesteaders on the Texas frontier.

Cloud is young and eager to contribute to the mystique of the Texas Mounted Rifles who he is searching for. His letter of introduction in his pocket is to the hardened Indian fighter and Confederate Officer Captain Barcroft. He has been searching for this band of Indian fighters to join up with them, but here he runs into a raiding party with their stolen heard and fresh scalps. Cloud throws his single shot black powder rifle and his six shot black powder revolver into the fracas. God must have been looking out for this young and dumb boy because he pulls off the deception and the Indians hightail it away.

The Moseley family that lives on the frontier is saved this time and very thankful for his support.Many inside stories are generated by this author in this particular tale and they all weave a spell binding tale drawing the reader in and pushing him to absorb all of the potential happenings that went on as poor people pushed onto the western Texas frontier.

Elmer Kelton has placed this story in his own backyard of western Texas and he tells a story about people and events that could have really happened on the Texas frontier based on his knowledge and research.

I recommend this story to all western readers who need a reality western to help them better understand how things were at that time and in that place. Elmer Kelton left us in 2009 but he has fifty westerns out in the reader world just waiting for you to read, absorb and enjoy. He is a great story teller and I know you will enjoy his tales.

Book Review: The Judas Gun

This western is a story about a towns population that highlights how greed and fear can change everything. A jury in this town had convicted a man and sent him to prison for his crimes. As he was being drug away from the trial he loudly swore that he would return and kill everyone who was responsible for sending him to jail.
Fargo escaped from prison and writings began to appear on the walls of the town, he is coming and finally he is here. Everyone that even had a part in the trial and had held him in jail and issued the sentence were in fear of their lives.

The basic story is built around the fear generated by the threats of Fargo against the people in this town. This portion of the story continues to build around the fear and despair generated by the town people. What will happen to them? The town people that are totally gripped by their fear as some residents leave town.

The banker is an old greedy man that had probably been behind the charges brought against Fargo. He wanted his ranch. He had spitefully taken the opportunity to hire the girlfriend of Fargo for his domestic servant or you might call her his slave. The more things unfolded the deeper the web of deceit grows. The interweaving lives of the town peoples and their  emotions makes everything more complicated. The main character of this story is not Fargo, but Clint Harper the deputy of Sheriff Tom Ludlow.

As the story continues to unfold the greed portion of the story begins to take shape. The murder of the banker is done not by Fargo, but the person who felt like he should have had more in life.

I think that this is as far as I should go in explaining the story. I recommend this western to the readers of westerns and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Book Review: The Violent Land

This western story written by Wayne D. Overholser is unique in its ability to tell a story about a young man. This man who didn’t like his father and felt that he was the reason things had never gone well for his mother brings out the divisions and conflicts between them. Strange as it seems his mother still holds on to him and his different ways.

The main character Daniel Nathan attempts to get out from under the thumb of his father and chooses to work for the large rancher that all of the farmers or better known as nester’s hate for owning the land they are sitting on. This situation will stay the same until the court can prove who really is the owner of the land.

The story is further complicated with the addition of a new bride for the owner of the land. He is small in stature, but his choice of a wife is a person of Daniels age with striking beauty and intelligence. The truth of Daniel being hired is brought to question, in that he is well educated like the new bride. He is suppose to become the go between of husband and wife. As we all know that doesn’t work. The new wife doesn’t want to be second to the ranch and land her husband owns.

I recommend this story to the western readers that like the complexities of human interaction and drama.

Book Review: Devil’s Kin

A horrific act of murder on the western frontier turns a mild mannered rancher into a vengeful hunter of men.He initially is searching for two murderers whose ranks grow by one. The main character is Jordan Gray, traveling fast with his head down, with out any real understanding of the types of men he is chasing and the country he is chasing them through.

This trail of vengeance draws Jordan into a situation where a posse thinks he is a gang member that robbed their bank in Fort Smith, Arkansas and killed several town members. The town has no remorse and looking for a hanging. It is up to Jordan’s wits to lead him out of this prison. A chance meeting leads him to Perley Gates who teaches Jordan the ins and outs of tracking outlaws by the signs they leave in the dirt and those hidden actions that tells the tracker where his prey is heading.

I definitely liked this western story as it unfolded on the pages of this book to expose the problems and dangers involved on this trail of vengeance. Every read should be aware of the trials and tribulations generated in this trail of vengeance as the main character faced every day. He found out that you didn’t have to do wrong thing to be sweep up in the clutches of the law by being to close to the bad people he was chasing.

I definitely recommend this western tale to all readers of every one of the people who turn the pages of the books out in the market. This is a relatively new writer for me and I will definitely read the rest of his offerings and I have totally enjoyed his ability,to get me involve in his stories.

Book Review: The Gold Trail

This western tale is the last of the stories in a trio book written by Max Brand under the title The Gold Trail. This story features one of Max Brands most popular character Reata. He is being sought by the law and chased by three outlaws who want the gold he has recovered so that they can flee to Mexico. The story also has two female characters his mystery lady Agnes Lester and the always faithful gypsy girl Mirian. When he is surrounded by the law the gypsy Mirian comes to his rescue. I recommend this book for the quality of the writing and the interest created by this popular western character of Max Brands. It seems so funny strange to me that we have a writer that has dipped his pin into many various types of stories writing over five hundred books and stories but gives it all up to be a war correspondent in World War II and then gets killed what a shame.

Book Review: Phil, the Fiddler

This is a western tale that portraits the Rival family tragedy. This dramatic story revolves around the stepson, Joshua, of Henry Rival and his cousin, Phil, the Fiddler who was a fearless truth teller in the twenty-eighth year of his life. Trouble really begins once Joshua proposes to Hilda Surrey.

Joshua is angered, by the lack of help and concern that Phil puts into the ranch activities that are needed to be done to make the ranch more profitable. Joshua knows in his mind that Phil should not inherit anything because he is doing nothing to improve the ranch. Why should he have half of Joshua’s labors? This is the instant when Joshua decides to blacken the reputation of Phil. His direction sees no boundaries and he devises a plan to gain the whole inheritance instead of sharing it with Phil. Being so consumed by his greed Joshua wants it all the land and cattle that covered the range, everything.

This plan in Joshua’s mind has several components and the first one will be that he will blacken Phil with a most despicable label of being a card cheat. The deed is secured and strengthened with the help of a seemingly innocent person the family lawyer. The lawyer will be paid cash money only when Joshua is the sole owner of the estate.

Phil is confronted and the equal split of the inheritance is dissolved and Joshua has complete control. Murder is committed and Phil is accused. Here is where the plan falls to pieces because Hilda whips Phil into action to clear his name and prove that someone else did these awful deeds to blacken his name.

This is an interestingly written story, which skillfully highlights the writing of the time. I feel that it is an excellent example of how successful westerns should still be written today. I recommend this story to all serious western readers I know you will savor the western flavor it exudes.

Book Review: Without a Penny in the World

This is a short western story written my Max Brand about a young westerner who initially felt that he would plot his way in life by using the availability of money. The main character Steve Borrow was always on the look out for a bargain because he knew that that money saved would come back to him when he married Jess Fanning’s daughter and the ranch became his. The beginning of his fall was when he used a mans weakness for liquor to sharpen his deal and actually inflate the price he would receive for the cattle he sold.

In the past he had loaned money at high interest rates to cowhand to help bind them to the ranch and then dictate to them the way he wanted things done. Using the fear of not having any money and not loyalty drove his crew to do the things he wanted done. Caught in a lie was the beginning of the end for Steve as he finally admitted his deceit. He gambled everything on the turn of a card and lost through the deceit of the owner Jess Fanning. Steve gave up his sham relationship with Jessica Fanning, lost his ranch and cattle and was out the door with out a penny to his name. He had changed and it was for the better. The new beginning of his life would be hinted at as he made his final activities on the ranch.

I recommend this short story in this trio book called, The Gold Trail, by Max Brand. This story alone would be reason enough for you as a reader to take up this book and read all three western stories by Max Brand. A western and modern life truism is outlined and highlighted in this story.