Book Review: The Geraldi Trail

This story is the tale of James Geraldi who is portrayed as a master thief who took his money from the thieves who stole from the unwitting and defenseless in the community. The story begins with Geraldi helping a past criminal friend escape from the law when he is accused of a murder he didn’t commit.

This selfless act loses him his love of his life and when he returns from his successful escape he is shocked to find that his love has disappeared. He has made his life into an empty shell as he is tied to the woman he loved so completely. He will try everything to get her back inside his life. During this time, Geraldi is being steadily chased by the notoriously successful law officer, Tex Arnold. He uses all manner of escape tricks and mind manipulation to deceive  this officer of the law. Marshal Arnold continues to chase him and seeks him out, around every corner.

The story is easy to read and keeps the reader totally involved as his chase continues and the stakes get higher as he tries to get back in the good graces of his love. He has to finally face the most dangerous and maddening foe to maybe win the love of his life back into his arms. On this escapade he faces a man that has sworn to eliminate him from the face of the earth but he doesn’t know what Geraldi looks like.

I recommend this book to all readers of westerns and you will experience good writing joined with excellent story telling. If you are like me these two factors will enable you to truly cover yourself in the complex spirit of this western story as you try and anticipate where the main character is going and if he will be successful in his quest..

Book Review: Singing Wires

This western story is one that draws the reader into the tale and keeps him involved and working on the problems of the main character Clay Roswell. This is the type of story that keeps me going and pushes me to the conclusion of the story no matter what time of night it is. These stories are really the type of westerns that I visibly remember as a boy and I still enjoy them now as a man.

Clay is initially interested in the western romantic job of Pony Express rider. He is told that it is something that is and will be gone just as soon as the telegraph wires are connected. He is disappointed, but is directed to the man who is working on the job of string the wire. He is sidetracked by his recognition of two men who stole his money, outfit and almost kill him as he slept. Recognition turns to blinding anger and rage as he crashes into them with his total force. He wins the battle, but is restrained from killing them. The person that holds him back from killing these two specimens of pond scum offers him a job on his wire crew. Not just any job, but an important one to keep the wire moving forward, as wagon master, that person charged with the moving of supplies from the start point, over the mountains and across the desert to join up with the wire crew coming from the west.

Clay discovers a ring of thieves that are stealing from the wire company and when the man in charge is reveled he is confronted with a monumental task. The repercussions that happen as Clay unveils the scheme and the person behind it to the owner and boss are those things that change people’s lives. Age-old problems in new settings robbery, greed and murder all rolled up in one story. What more could you want?

I recommend this story to all western readers and I am positive that you will enjoy this author L. P. Holmes as he successfully tells a story and has you become involved in it, with the success or failure of our main character.

Book Review: Phantoms in the Night

This is an early California story when the conflict of who would sway influence over this western land was all over everyone’s minds. The main character, John Hayward, is spirited ashore in the dark of night. He is in search of Roger Bardine the U.S. consul who has vanished and foul play is suspected. Hayward’s mission is secret and he is presented with multiple opportunities to expose his identity, but his training enables him to maintain his disguise and continue the search for the U.S. consul. Initially I felt that this character was shallow and more like a cardboard figure instead of a true to life hero.

John is befriended by, Miguel Corado, amansador for the great Ranchero del Sur when they both end up in prison for drunkenness and fighting. He is pardoned along with Miguel to finish out his sentence at the Ranchero del Sur. From this point on the action and struggles acquired my interest and kept me going till the end of the story. I will tell you that the first fifty pages were hard for me to read and stay interested in the outcome of the story. I just really didn’t care about any of the characters until a love interest rose up and took charge of the main character while bringing along several of the other characters that I had no previous interaction with. The complex nature of Miguel initially eluded me and I was lost in his flip-flopping changes he had in his character.

The conflict and the reason for the escalation of tensions still elude me and I am unable to tell you exactly why these things were happening. Hopefully you will understand and possibly respond on my blog as to what was really happening. Read the story by Les Savage Jr. and let me know what you thought. I would not recommend this story to a large portion of western readers.

Book Review: Back With a Vengeance

This is a western story that covers the movement of women into the west to be wives of family men who have lost their wives and they need new mothers for their children and the lovers for these lonely western men. The story begins with a bank robbery in Colfax, Colorado executed by five ruthless men who murder many town people and steal the money. In this town things went in a direction that was completely opposite from the implied happening. The gang leader was feeling the lack of excitement and the loss of his desire to push his life in a direction that he wanted to go. Being wounded in this bank robbery and escape he felt the loss of the importance of his life and wondered if anyone would ever morn his death when and if it happened.

These men hole up and partly recover and then move to a small insignificant Nebraska town of Freedom Rock where their true plan is highlighted. Walt Canaday has been corresponding with Ellie Bryant from Minnesota and she is arriving in town the same time the Bowman gang arrives trying to look unimportant. Walt is involved in the first confrontation when Bowman kills marshal Pat Patterson. Walt initially leaves not knowing that his family would be torn apart by this gang.

Sam his youngest son who had been adopted by his first wife and Walt was the son of the gang leader Arch Bowman. The boy is kidnapped and Walt is knocked unconscious as Matt trails the gang at a distance. The story continues and grows in complexity and intensity. The story written by Ben Bridges is a good reflection of how thing really happened in the west.

I recommend this story and author to all my western readers a must read.

Book Review: The Cold Dish

This is a modern western mystery set in the present day with Sheriff Walt Longmire as the main character. The location is Durant, Wyoming and Walt is still suffering over the lose of his wife, four years ago. The history of the upcoming mystery tells us that there had been a brutal rape of a young Indian girl who had fetal alcohol syndrome. She had been manipulated by four teenage boys and suffered the maximum atrocities that you could possibly imagine.

The first major winter storm is closing in when the first body is found. He was one of the rapists who had just been released, out of the county juvenile detention center. He was really dead. A single thumb size hole was on his back, but his sternum with the complete front of his chest lay scattered all over an area used as a sheep pasture, his life had been totally blown away. First thought was, it’s a hunting accident. That was a theory that didn’t even get off the ground. A second victim was found and the total complexion and direction of the investigation changed as the Sheriff tried to protect the last two surviving rapists.

A Cheyenne ghost rifle is presented for evaluation and everything gets confusing and complicated in relation to the solution and who the shooter really is. Walt’s life-long friend ends up on the suspect list along with other Native Americans and the list potentially involves parents and family members of everyone associated with the rape. A short list is compiled with those having the ability to make a four hundred yard dead center shot and had access to a weapon of the killing caliber.

Hopefully I didn’t tell you too much but just enough to make you want to read this story. I am completely enamored by Craig Johnson’s ability to get me in the story and keep me going. I was totally involved in his solution and the final direction of the story. The way he wound the ending up kept me totally with the story.

This is a must read for those who like westerns and mysteries. It’s available on Kindle, probably in bookstores and libraries across the country. Lets keep reading.

Book Review: Ride

This western story written by Graig Mantle created in me an inability to complete this story. I was able to get through two thirds of the tale before I threw up my hands and said, “I just can’t see wasting any more of my time in reading this story.” I felt the author had no real anchor to the west of the 1800’s and those individuals that struggled and achieved in these times.
The main character Harvey Nash was on a job to deliver a bag from Cheyenne, Wyoming and present it to a designated person at a specific time in Dallas, Texas. Every time he entered a town or concentration of people there were murders and conflicts emptying out of every saloon, alley or hotel. The outlaws communications and actions seemed way beyond the actual events of the day.
I will not recommend this book or author to anyone who would possibly be interested in the events and reality of the times. My ideas are individual and subject only to my own personal opinion. I firmly suggest that anyone who is dissatisfied with my rating of this author and the story in particular should read and judge the story on your own. My mind is made up and I will not change it on this story.

Movie Review: Lincoln

This was my second viewing of this movie about American history that gives the viewer an insight to a particular time in history that has shaped and molded our country through a troubled time. The Civil war was going on and Lincoln was in the struggle to change the constitution to make all men free.

The events were the last four months of the 16th President’s life, depicted with humor and insight as to how things had happened at this particular time and place. The actors were amazing in their portrayals of real life characters making the movie into a classic. The actors should all win awards beginning with Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln and David Strathairn as William Seward the Secretary of State. The movie was molded out of the book “Team of Rivals” this was the basis of the movie, written by Doris Kearns Goodwin a noted historian and winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

This movie is excellent and should be required viewing for all, from Middle School to Nursing Homes.

Book Review: Return of the Spirit Rider

This western story by Cotton Smith tells the reader about a man that would lead two separate lives. Vin Lockhart this western character is raised by a Sioux medicine man and was taught the ways of a medicine man as he grew to a man. He took the teachings to heart and lived the ways of a warrior as best he could. Being a true Sioux Indian warrior he took the test of the Sun Dance and got through it. He married an Indian wife and then avenged her death by killing her murders. Panther-Strikes, Vin’s, Sioux warrior name he suffered sever wounds in this epic battle, but survived. The multiple wounds that were delivered almost became fatal, but when he pulled through the Indian community viewed him as a spirit warrior that could not be killed. Vin felt that he could not and would not want to live up to this image. So he then moved to the world of his unknown white mother and white father with Crawfish Crawford who helps him grow in the white world where he truly belongs.

Many multiple characters in history are interspersed into the book to possibly increase the books truth factor. There were many dream sequences that were distracting to the story in my opinion. We have multiple stories within the main story, which is good if they can’t stand alone as a story of their own I agree with the author. The story could have been better in my mind; it just wasn’t the way I envisioned the story going. All my readers should view this book on their own ideas of what a western should be.

Get out there and read the books you want to. Libraries, New Book Stores, Used Book Stores, Books on Line, Books on Kindle and Books on CD’s. You have the largest library of books ever. Read every day.

Book Review: Death Rides A Red Horse

This is a western tale about how one Texas family struggled to preserve their way of life through many trials and tribulations. They became one of the largest and best cattle ranches, even after the designated center of the family Ethan Kerry goes blind. His wife Claire calls on the younger brother Cole, who has been on the outlaw path, to come and help the ranch in its time of need. The back-story is where they took over the grazing land from a previous squatter who was trying to drive them out of the area. The older brother Luther has lost his wife and family and joins the team to help make the family unit even stronger. Cole had found his soul mate, Kathleen, and they are two young people who are visibly in love and they don’t seem to appear to want to be separated.

An outlaw gang leader, Victoria Gee, and his Kill Creek gang has spread fear and terror in all over the area especially in towns they perceived as their domain. The gang strikes the trade town where the Kerry clan is doing their shopping. This Saturday’s journey into town turns into a nightmare. The gang leader kidnaps Kathleen. Cole mounts up and rushes out of town with a Texas Ranger as his partner. Everything is not what it seems. There are many jumps and hurdles that the reader is pulled over to finally get to the end of the insightful story of tenacity, compassion and personal understandings of a family with all its parts.

I recommend this story which I read on my Kindle and I enjoyed the read even if I didn’t have the paperback to fold back in my hand exuding that smell only real books can give you. Any way you read it I am fairly sure you will enjoy it.

Book Review: Dead Man’s Crossing

This is my second western story that I read off my Kindle. The electronic device really allows me to drive through the story and get involved. I will enjoy many more westerns than I previously have enjoyed. This author Robert Broomall tells a tale about a man cast into the dynamics of leading a small group of western directed people based on their assumption that he is brave and will make the right decisions when confronted with adversity. The main character was encouraged to join the wagon train by a friend that only knows the outward successes he has had. The wagon train master and friend, of Jake Moran, was killed by Yellow Wolf a notorious Comanche war chief. Yellow Wolf is working on avenging the death of his son by the military. Jake Moran survives a confrontation with Yellow Wolf and stands off an over whelming number of Comanche braves with out firing a shot. The voting body of this small wagon train votes Jake into being wagon master. The main villain outside the Indians is Tyler Hampton a truly bad person that wants everything his own way like a spoiled child. He is not adverse to stepping on anyone that tries to confront him or shows any little bit of backbone toward a decision he might be in front of at a particular time. I hope you immediately recognize the two villains and our hero.

Cholera strikes. The wagon train has families die and the Indians continue to attack. The North Carolinian, Tyler Hampton, stays well and appears to accept Jake Moran as an equal. The story has many twists and turns as more bad than good things happens with the tale as it waves in the wind. As the story pushes on to the conclusion.

I recommend this western story as an interesting and intriguing quest of a new direction for westerns and could help generate new readers to experience the fictionalized events of post Civil War western expansion and populating the country.