I’ve been addicted to Westerns for a few months now. If you have any favorites, I’d love to hear about them.
Here are three more great books, two available through NetGalley and one through Kindle:
- Hell Star — everything you’d want from a Wild West story
- Brokeheart — an unemployed journalist finds more than a new job
- Jess Williams series –– a good kid turns into a bounty hunter of the Old West’s most heinous murderers after his family is viciously killed by outlaws
by Chuck Mason
In Chuck Mason’s Hell Star (Pioneering Press 2017), Link Leyland is a retired Marshall back in the days of America’s Wild West, when the law was pretty much whatever could be meted out between an action and reaction. The faster you were, the more power you had. Despite reaching the old age of 37, Leyland is called back from retirement to investigate the death of his former partner in the lawless town of Prairie City. He goes undercover, supposedly to buy cattle, but before he even enters town, he comes upon a stagecoach being robbed and must stop it. From that point on, it’s a struggle to maintain his cover and face down the robbers who have the support of the town’s leaders. Here’s a taste of Mason’s storytelling:
“Southward, the prairie, wide, rolling, featureless, stretched away to the distant horizon and beyond, and so it was to the east. Northward, the silent shoulders of rugged mountain ranges reared up like sentinels, and somewhere among their foothills lay Leyland’s destination—Prairie City.”
The characters are interesting, the plot is quick, and the ending satisfying. I’d love to read more of this author.
–received free from NetGalley in return for an honest review
by Kevin Wolf
4 of 5 stars
Kevin Wolf’s Brokeheart (Northstar Editions 2017) is the story of a newspaper reporter (Kepler) who loses his job and ends up in the dilapidated mining town of Brokeheart Colorado, accepting an underpaid position on the local paper. His stories bring him to the attention of the town’s wealthy landowner who hires him to oversee the building of his house (a bit of a leap of faith here: Why would I believe a newspaper writer could manage construction, but this is the old West–they didn’t have a lot of choices back then). Because of the substantial pay raise, Kepler takes the job but can’t let go of the mystery he’s been pursuing behind a series of local deaths. Some have been murders, one a suicide, but all were unusual. As he works his new job, he continues to investigate and begins connecting the dots in ways that aren’t good for his current career or his health.
Wolf’s authorial voice is strong albeit a bit dark, but he puts you right into the atmosphere of a late 1800s Western town. I enjoyed following along, always curious about what would happen next.T
by Robert J. Thomas
Robert Thomas’ 62-book-long (as of June 2017–Thomas seems to write almost a book a month) Jess Williams’ series is an old west Robin Hood story that will in equal parts enrage and energize you but always satisfy your thirst for justice, goodness, and a well-told story. At the age of 14, Jess Williams’ parents and 7-year-old sister are viciously and hideously killed. Before that, Jess was like any other teenager growing up in the American West. With the loss of his family, he vows to hunt down the men who did it and bring them to justice. This he does with the help of an amazing gun that appears out of nowhere. It takes a lot of practice, but he becomes the fastest draw anywhere and a bounty hunter who hunts only the worst of the worst murderers and a valued partner to any number of western US Marshalls, town sheriffs, and god-fearing people
The series details how Jess uses his clever mind to go after evil and right wrongs. It does earn him prodigious amounts of money which he is as likely to use on his friends, donate to local money-poor towns, and to help the common man struggling to survive the travails of a western existence as he is to build his bank account in his hometown.
This is a satisfying series well written with lots of action.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.