Sunday, November 30, 2014

Noteworthy Reads: (A Double-barreled Dose of Western Action) - SAVAGE BARRANCA & HOLT COUNTY IRON

Mean Pete, Frank Leslie, and Mike Sartain, The Revenger, make an unbeatable team when it comes to tough, gritty, adult Western adventure tales!
The twist in this one is that Sartain is doing a job *for* the government instead of being on the run from it … and the "insurance policy" the governor of New Mexico Territory sends along in the form of a beautiful lady Pinkerton, to make sure The Revenger holds up his end of the bargain, only adds spice to the brew.
As anyone familiar with the Leslie (or Brandvold) byline should know to expect by now --- there is danger, double-dealings, hard riding (in more ways than one), and enough gun-blazing action to satisfy all who relish the rowdy days of yesteryear.
Don't hesitate, mount up and enjoy the ride!

The evolution of Richard Prosch's wonderful Whit Branham character continues in this solid new novella, the longest single entry in the series so far. And Holt County, Nebraska, circa 1882 --- both its colorful array of people and the land itself --- also emerges more and more distinctly in the evocative, subtly stylish prose that has become one of Prosch's trademarks.
There is plenty of action in this yarn, starting almost immediately with a shootout that culminates in the rundown of a vengeful fugitive … and ending with a nasty conflict in the midst of a howling blizzard, this one culminating in a shocker of a twist sure to catch even the most alert reader by surprise. But the characterizations --- the quirks, the uncertainties and weaknesses, the *realness* of those presented --- enhance everything to a higher level. And the "iron" of the title is, to some degree, in all of them. This is true of none more than Whit, of course, making him the tough, reliable hero at the center of the story … yet nevertheless remaining also very human, even humble at times, with his own share of personal problems and issues.
In the course of telling a rousing good tale, Prosch does a fine job of conveying a genuine sense of the time, place, and people. You can tell that, as a writer, he cares about all of these things. As a reader, you will too. Enough to make you want to read more of this series and, if you're smart, anything else you can get your hands on with the Prosch byline.
Highly recommended.

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