Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Noteworthy Reads: THE LAST WAR CHIEF (Outlaw Ranger #4) by James Reasoner

I’ve often marveled at the mastery with which James Reasoner sets the “hook” for his stories --- it absolutely *compels* the reader to want to find out what happens next. And what comes next in anything from Reasoner, of course, is never a disappointment. THE LAST WAR CHIEF is yet another fine example of this – on both counts.
The opening passages introduce us to the central figure of this tale. He goes by many names: To the folks of Dinsmore, Texas, he is the pathetic town drunk they call Old Pete or, occasionally, by his translated Indian name of Three Horses. His true Indian name is Pahitti Puuku. But in his mind, liquor-addled though it may be, he is The Last War Chief of the Commanche.
It takes the arrival in Dinsmore of a ruthless gang of killers and bank robbers, led by vicious Clete Fenner, to reawaken the warrior chief who has been all but drowned by the booze Three Horses has been pouring into himself. After the gang robs the Dinsmore bank, kills the town lawmen, shoots up other innocents, and leaves Three Horses lying in the dirt, beaten and publicly humiliated, something angry and determined rises up in the old man. He vows The Last War Chief will ride and fight again.
When the Outlaw Ranger, G.W. Braddock, shows up on the trail of the Fenner gang, Three Horses is fiercely intent on riding with him after the robber/killers. Braddock refuses the offer of help as firmly but delicately as possible, yet Three Horses won’t take no for an answer. Circumstances out on the trail finally unite the pair in a way that Braddock can’t deny and they ultimately close in on the outlaws together.
The conclusion is stirring, bittersweet, and altogether satisfying.
A great Western yarn, with more complexities and emotions than the standard fare, though still delivering plenty of gritty action.
Strongly recommended.

1 comment:

Cap'n Bob said...

Good review. I finished it a few nights ago and wondered if Three Horses is being set up as a sidekick. I'd like to see that.