amilies have dark secrets. My sister likes romance novels. Me, I love an occasional Louis L’Amour western. It’s all wide open spaces and honest heroes who have to fight against massed opposition for the sake of good and right (rather like my own life, seems to me). L’Amour can hold an audience; that’s been proven around the world.
So the hero with his cool name, Utah Blaine, is on the run after springing himself from a Mexican jail (for attempting to help a revolution). He’s moving north, back into the states, on foot, without a gun. Then one night he wakes up to hear a band of dishonest men hanging an older fellow out in the nowheres – thankfully they don’t rig him so he breaks his neck. Like Batman villains, they dangle him all choking, laugh at him and leave him to die alone. Of course, Blaine decides that the secrecy of the act speaks of its illegitimacy and saves the gasping rancher. Turns out this guy runs the largest cattle spread in the territories. Also turns out that a vigilante squad he helped established is now intent on killing him and breaking his land up.
In gratitude, the neck-rubbing guy accepts Blaine’s proposition – the rancher will hide out like the king in chess while Blaine goes after his enemies (and if he pulls this off, he’ll be the ranch foreman). Of course, it means taking on a band of thugs backed by rich ranchers and town dudes, all who can import all the mugs, pugs and thugs money can buy. So, with his own small group of good castoffs, Utah goes head to head with wealth, power and human evilness. Yeah, slap leather, partner.
This is just another book from a long-established author, a great read for a rainy day. Unlike the massive Tom Jones that I’m digging my way through, this one is a breezy 160 pages, short and sweet. If you haven’t read westerns, just pick up this book (hell, any book) from this master. You’ll find yourself really enjoying the ride, and you won’t have saddle sores by the end. Guar-o-tee it, Partner!