Monday 10 am -6 pm ~ Tuesday 10 am -6 pm ~ Wednesday 10 am -6 pm ~ Thursday 10 am -6 pm ~ Friday 10 am -6 pm ~ Saturday Closed ~ Sunday Closed ~
Spur Awards
2017
Off the Grid:
Book Jacket   C.J. Box
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399176609 In the sixteenth Joe Pickett novel, the game warden's renegade friend Nate Romanowski is coerced by a shadow government into tracking down a fellow falconer, the son of a Saudi ambassador, who's suspected of terrorist activity. Muhammad Ibraaheem has gone off the grid, not in the shifting sands of the Middle East but rather in south-central Wyoming's Red Desert. When outgoing governor Rulon gets wind of the operation in his territory, he sends Joe in for one last case as his Range Rider. What is the Americanized Ibby really up to? Nate is impressed until events force him and the late-arriving Joe to protect Joe's daughter, Sheridan, and a bunch of other college students who've become involved, before making their own desperate last stand. Add a killer grizzly bear, and you have a terrorist thriller with a uniquely western flair. Aside from a few overlong stretches of exposition, and the fact that Sheridan's presence feels like a stretch, this is a breakneck story that Pickett fans will want to read in one sitting. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The print run for this one wasn't available, but there's a good reason the author's name is the biggest thing on the cover. Expect a strong promotional campaign and equally strong reader demand.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2016 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399176609 In his 16th outing (after Endangered), Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett heads for the Red Desert, where longtime friend, falconer, and off-the-grid recluse Nate Romanowski has been blackmailed into assisting a deeply hidden faction of the U.S. government. It needs Nate to stop a plot by a domestic terrorist group to wipe out the huge metadata stores the National Security Agency (NSA) has compiled on unsuspecting Americans. In particular, Nate is tasked with making contact with one of the terrorists, who is also a fellow falconer and a member of Middle Eastern royalty. Joe goes along on the hunt, which turns urgent when he discovers that his daughter is about to become collateral damage. The tense action that results mirrors Nate's experiences in Afghanistan and brings to life his nightmares. Verdict While some of the villains here are mere stereotypes, Joe's character continues to develop. Readers of Ted Koppel's Lights Out will enjoy the fictionalization of the cyberattack threat on the electric grid, and devotees of other outdoor mysteries such as those by Nevada Barr, Craig Johnson, and William Kent Krueger will find much to like in Box's evocative depiction of the Western landscape. [See Prepub Alert, 11/1/15.]-Sharon Mensing, Emerald Mountain Sch., Steamboat Springs, CO © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399176609 Bestseller Box's 16th Joe Pickett adventure (after 2015's Endangered) opens with some of the sweetest words any true fan of the series could hope to see: "Nate Romanowski knew trouble was on the way when he saw the falcon's wings suddenly flare in the distance." The best Joe Pickett novels are those that prominently feature Nate, the original off-the-grid freeman, and Nate dominates at least half of this yarn, while Joe's equally fine alternating chapters lead to their inevitable crossing of paths late in the story. The action involves elements as disparate as a killer grizzly bear, noxious government agents with nearly limitless power, a Julian Assange-type activist with a messiah complex, Wyoming's irrepressible Governor Rulon, and one of the most brutal bands of terrorists you would never want to find on American soil. A master at managing multiple plot lines, Box brings them all together for a nerve-wracking climax that rivals The Wild Bunch for utter havoc. With this exceptional entry, Box solidifies his place at the upper level of the crime fiction pantheon. Author tour. Agent: Ann Rittenberg, Ann Rittenberg Literary Agency. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Terrorists, libertarians, and wild cards duke it out in game warden Joe Pickett's Wyoming. Nate Romanowski, who doesn't like being called a homicidal libertarian folk hero even though the shoe fits like a glove, has been minding his own business, miles from civilization, when a phone call between his lover, Olivia Brannan, and her mother, who's dying in Louisiana, reveals his whereabouts to a pair of clean-cut sharpies calling themselves Brian Tyrell and Keith Volk. Unless Nate wants to stand trial along with Olivia for a gaggle of felonies he's accumulated over previous installments (Endangered, 2015, etc.), they tell him, he'd better sign on with the Wolverines, a group of disaffected government freelancers sick of federal rules and regulations, to make contact with a terrorist who's landed in the Red Desert. They hope the target, Muhammad Ibraaheem, will open up to Nate, who shares his anti-government idealism and his love of falconry. No sooner has Nate taken off to track down Ibby than outgoing Wyoming Gov. Spencer Rulon, apprised of his disappearance, persuades Nate's old friend, game warden Joe Pickett, to go hunting for him. Despite the obstacles, ranging from a highly irritated grizzly bear to the obligatory involvement of Joe's familythis time his daughter Sheridan, a college senior who decides to go camping at the worst possible time and placeNate soon locates and befriends Ibby, and Joe eventually finds Nate. Nothing else goes according to plan, mainly because Ibby's plans are more apocalyptic than Nate can imagine, and other parties turn out to be interested in the high-octane proceedings. Even though you just know Box isn't going to put an end to his highly successful franchise by blowing his lead characters to kingdom come, you can't help turning the pages and holding your breath until you find out where this scary, all-too-plausible caravan is heading. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
...More
2016
Crazy Mountain Kiss:
Book Jacket   Keith McCafferty
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780670014705 *Starred Review* When you find a Santa hat in the fireplace of your rented cabin deep in Montana's Crazy Mountains, you're obligated to look up the chimney, right? No, Virginia, you probably won't find Mr. Claus, but you just might see Cinderella. At least that what happens in the fine set piece that opens McCafferty's latest Stranahan and Ettinger novel. The Cinderella in question, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, isn't in the best of shape: she's dead, having trapped herself in the chimney, and her eyes have been plucked out by a crow. Sheriff Martha Ettinger knows this case could be trouble the rancher, Etta Huntingdon, has power aplenty and likes to use it. Ettinger wants to hire fishing guide and part-time detective Sean Stranahan to help with the investigation, but she recently ended a semi-secret relationship with Stranahan, and that spells awkward. The two attempt to act like adults, however, despite some entertaining sniping along the way, and, soon enough, Sean has identified the mountain cabin as a trysting spot for a twenty-first-century swingers' club and determined that Cinderella may have been living, either willingly or not, with a mountain man called Bear Paw. This sounds almost like a comic crime novel, and at times it is, but when it turns serious, it turns very serious, indeed. Like Brad Smith and Elmore Leonard, McCafferty does a marvelous job of manipulating mood, moving from light to dark in such a way as to intensify both. This is the best McCafferty novel yet, and it's a must for Craig Johnson and C. J. Box fans.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2015 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A missing teen requires the special talents of Sean Stranahanfishing guide, watercolorist, former boxer, and occasional private eye (Dead Man's Fancy, 2014, etc.). Failed author Max Gallagher, who's renting a cabin in Montana's Crazy Mountains in the hope of writing a comeback novel, has trouble trying to get the chimney to draw. First a Santa Claus hat falls out, then he has to remove a crow's nest, and finally he finds an eyeless female corpse stuck inside. When Sheriff Martha Ettinger brings her team to investigate, she's not pleased to hear that Max is an acquaintance of her estranged lover Sean Stranahan. But, professional down to her booted feet, Martha's determined to focus only on the dead girl. The medical examiner doesn't see any signs of foul play, but he does note that the victim was five months pregnantand five months is how long Cinderella, the beautiful teenage daughter of former rodeo star Loretta Huntington, has been missing. Loretta's husband is wrapped up in his work as a consultant for a TV Western, and the grieving mother, who's already lost two children, is barely holding herself together. When she can no longer deny that the girl in the chimney is her daughter, she hires Stranahan to find out what happened. At first he's uncertain whether Cinderella planned to use the cabin as the Mile and a Half High Club, the scene of prearranged and anonymous assignations, or whether she'd run away from trouble at home and used the cabin as refuge. The more Stranahan tries to make sense of clues as disparate as a local Bigfoot, an old powder horn, and a clown tattoo, the more intricate the puzzle grows, until he discovers an astonishing work of art that he hopes will bring peace to the tortured Loretta. Stranahan's fourth case blends humor with heartbreak, all flavors of eccentricity with a struggle for normalcy, and a natural backdrop that can make even the most powerful humans and their deeds look small. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780670014705 The death of a young Montana rodeo star propels McCafferty's terrific fourth mystery featuring artist, fly-fisherman, and occasional PI Sean Stranahan (after 2014's Dead Man's Fancy). When 16-year-old Cinderella "Cindy" Huntington is found dead in the chimney of a Forest Service cabin, it's unclear if foul play is involved, but Cindy's mother, Etta, hires Sean to do some digging. This means Sean will have to work with Sheriff Martha Ettinger, and things are tense between them since she recently called a halt to their romance. However, they undeniably make a good team, and what seems to be a straightforward death soon proves to be anything but. Sean and Martha find themselves embroiled in a family drama of epic proportions, as well as involved with a local "Mile High" club and an eccentric local mountain man. This is a must for fans of eclectic mysteries in which the setting is just as important as the characters. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
...More
 
2015
Bad Country
 C.B. McKenzie
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250053541 A series of murders in remote Los Jarros County in southernmost Arizona soon involves PI Rodeo Grace Garnet: the fourth victim is found shot in his front yard when he and his dog return from a week's vacation. Then Garnet is hired by the grandmother of the third victim, 18-year-old Sammy Rocha, to find his killer. Native American Garnet, who grew up on the res but was trained to be a cowboy and had brief success on the rodeo circuit, soon identifies as his top suspect a dangerous man who turns out to have loved Sammy and threatens bodily harm if Garnet doesn't find the real killer. At the same time, a state cop is turning a suspicious eye on Garnet himself because he previously apprehended and beat to death a serial killer. Garnet is a protagonist who's private to his core as he operates in the worlds of the Anglo and the Indian but seems to belong to neither. Winner of the 2013 Tony Hillerman Prize for the best first mystery set in the Southwest, this is a fine example of southwestern noir.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2014 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250053541 This Southwestern-flavored series launch introduces retired bronco rider-turned-PI Rodeo Grace Garnet. Raised on Arizona's Pascua Yaqui Reservation but caught between the Anglo and Native American worlds, Rodeo mourns the passing of the traditional ways. Returning from vacation, he discovers a corpse sprawled on the road in front of his house. The victim is a member of a local tribe. There has been a spate of unsolved murders in Los Jarros County, which Sheriff "Apache" Ray Molina is investigating. Then Luis Encarnacion, proprietor of the Twin Arrows Trading Post and Rodeo's best friend, urges Rodeo to probe the drive-by shooting of a young Hispanic boy, Samuel Rocha, in Tucson. Soon Apache Ray is dead, along with a professor from the university, and Rodeo is beaten up by Ronald Rocha, Samuel's uncle. Someone knows a lot more than they are saying. VERDICT Winner of the Tony Hillerman Prize for the Best Debut Mystery set in the Southwest, this edgy noir offers a master class on how to create a vivid sense of mood and place. Rodeo is a hard-nosed, hard-drinking man who searches for the truth as he understands it. Fans of the late, great Hillerman will cheer the arrival of a promising newcomer. [Previewed in Kristi Chadwick's "Pushing Boundaries" mystery feature, LJ 4/15/14.] (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250053541 Originality is the strong suit of Mackenzie's Tony Hillerman Prize-winning debut. PI Rodeo Grace Garnet, a Pascua Yaqui who's the sole resident of Vista Montana Estates in El Hoyo, Ariz., returns home from vacation to find a man shot dead by his front gates, "two jumbled piles of cinder block" on either side of a dirt road. Garnet first calls Sheriff "Apache" Ray Molina to report the crime, then notifies his lawyer, Jarred Willis, in Tucson, just in case law enforcement wants him for questioning. Later, a state trooper asks Garnet about three other recent murders in the area. Meanwhile, Katherine Rocha, a fellow Pascua Yaqui, asks him to look into the drive-by killing of her gang-member grandson, though she's curiously indifferent to his fate. Wild cards include Garnet's ex-girlfriend and Ray's daughter, Sirena Rae Molina, and anthropology professor Tinley Burke, who dreams of being a writer. Drawing on this melange of quirky personalities and Southwestern settings, McKenzie offers the reader an intriguing mystery and a new hero. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A former Arizona rodeo star-turned-private eye takes on a plateful of cases that turn out to be different courses in the same criminal banquet. Rodeo Grace Garnet lives in the only habitable dwelling in the remnants of a planned community in an area called The Hole. Returning home with his old dog, he finds the body of a murdered Native American man. It's the start of a dizzyingly complicated and life-changing series of cases. Ray Molina, the sheriff of Los Jarros County, is a wealthy man with a thinly stretched department in a county whose vast empty areas provide an easy path for illegals and drug traffickers to enter the country. Ray's daughter, Sirena Rae, is a wild child Rodeo dumped after she shot his dog, though she still drops by to visit. Rodeo's friend Luis Azul Encarnacion, who owns the local trading post, sets him up to investigate the drive-by shooting of Samuel Rocha in Tucson. Samuel's grandmother wants to hire him to find the killer even though her whole family ignored Samuel in favor of his younger beauty-queen sister, who was killed in a hit-and-run. Probably the only person who did love Samuel is his lover, Ronald Rocha, a stone-cold killer and former special operations soldier whose erstwhile commanding officer is a wealthy man, a Tea Party candidate whose wife gets into the act by hiring Rodeo to find a missing manuscript after her brother dies of an overdose. Rocha threatens to kill Rodeo's dog and then Rodeo himself if he doesn't provide him with the name of Samuel's killer. As Rodeo slowly unravels a tangled mass of clues, he finds to his amazement that all these cases are interconnected. An outstanding first novel written with clarity and authority and featuring a Southwest whose spare beauty covers unspeakable crimes and a detective who's tough, honorable and authentic to the core. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
...More
  Book Jacket
2014
Light of the World: A Dave Robicheaux Novel
 James Lee Burke
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781476710761 *Starred Review* Hats off to the Library of Congress cataloger who applied the subject heading Good and Evil to Burke's latest Dave Robicheaux novel. In that simple tag lies the core of this acclaimed series. Robicheaux, the Cajun detective with a melancholy streak as wide as the Mississippi, grieves lost innocence in all its forms, but as much as he remembers goodness in the past, he crusades against evil in the present. The bad guys against whom Robicheaux along with his equally tormented comrade-in-arms, Clete Purcell campaigns sometimes take the form of bent rich guys driven by blind greed. But occasionally the evil comes in a more chilling, vaguely supernatural form depravity beyond sociology giving these novels a darker, more mythic tone, with Robicheaux cast as a contemporary Beowulf, asked to plunge deep into the heart of darkness to confront the Grendels lurking beneath the surface of daily life. So it is here, when serial killer Asa Surette, believed dead, resurfaces in Montana with scores to settle, including one with Robicheaux's daughter, Alafair. The plot plays out in a manner that will be familiar to Burke fans, including a firestorm of a climax near Flathead Lake, but there is one big difference: no longer is it just Dave and Clete sallying forth, armed to the teeth, to slay the monster. No, this time it's a family affair, with the next generation Alafair and Clete's daughter, Gretchen, who surfaced in Creole Belle (2012) also locked, loaded, and standing alongside their fathers in the final confrontation. It sounds over the top, but it works, enveloping the reader in the visceral terror of the moment and reminding us that Grendel may still swim in our midst. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Burke has won two Edgars and been named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America; his Dave Robicheaux novels routinely lodge themselves on the New York Times bestseller list. This one will, too.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442361478 Will Patton has read several Burke books before, and that experience shows. In this audio edition of the author's 20th crime novel featuring Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux, Patton boasts a confidence that can only come from experience. Robicheaux is a melancholy character, naturally enough given his life experiences, which included a stint in Vietnam and the death of his father in an oil rig explosion. Patton is completely convincing in the part, offering a perfect Cajun accent to accompany his sorrowful tone and pacing. This time around, Robicheaux and his family are trying to relax in Montana, but a murderer who escaped from prison targets his journalist daughter. Patton proves equally effective at portraying the book's other characters, regardless of gender. Given the book's conflict, providing the bad guy with a distinctive and menacing voice is crucial-and Patton succeeds there as well. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2013
Light of the world : a Dave Robicheaux novel
Book Jacket   James Lee Burke
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781476710761 *Starred Review* Hats off to the Library of Congress cataloger who applied the subject heading Good and Evil to Burke's latest Dave Robicheaux novel. In that simple tag lies the core of this acclaimed series. Robicheaux, the Cajun detective with a melancholy streak as wide as the Mississippi, grieves lost innocence in all its forms, but as much as he remembers goodness in the past, he crusades against evil in the present. The bad guys against whom Robicheaux along with his equally tormented comrade-in-arms, Clete Purcell campaigns sometimes take the form of bent rich guys driven by blind greed. But occasionally the evil comes in a more chilling, vaguely supernatural form depravity beyond sociology giving these novels a darker, more mythic tone, with Robicheaux cast as a contemporary Beowulf, asked to plunge deep into the heart of darkness to confront the Grendels lurking beneath the surface of daily life. So it is here, when serial killer Asa Surette, believed dead, resurfaces in Montana with scores to settle, including one with Robicheaux's daughter, Alafair. The plot plays out in a manner that will be familiar to Burke fans, including a firestorm of a climax near Flathead Lake, but there is one big difference: no longer is it just Dave and Clete sallying forth, armed to the teeth, to slay the monster. No, this time it's a family affair, with the next generation Alafair and Clete's daughter, Gretchen, who surfaced in Creole Belle (2012) also locked, loaded, and standing alongside their fathers in the final confrontation. It sounds over the top, but it works, enveloping the reader in the visceral terror of the moment and reminding us that Grendel may still swim in our midst. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Burke has won two Edgars and been named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America; his Dave Robicheaux novels routinely lodge themselves on the New York Times bestseller list. This one will, too.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Dave Robicheaux's latest Montana vacation is beset by demons old and new. It's a long way from New Iberia, La., to Big Sky country, but some things never change, like the constant threat of violence from unknown quarters. Or not so unknown, since Dave's adopted daughter, Alafair, is sure that psycho rodeo cowboy Wyatt Dixon (In the Moon of Red Ponies, 2004, etc.) is the man who shot an arrow at her head. But Dave's not so sure: A growing pile of evidence suggests that the archer was Asa Surrette, the mass murderer Alafair interviewed years ago in a Kansas prison for a true-crime book she gave up writing in horrified disgust. Surrette, reported dead in a flaming car crash, gives every indication of being alive, active and as malevolent as ever. That spells major trouble for Dave, who's staying with novelist/teacher Albert Hollister; his old buddy Clete Purcel, who's falling for Felicity Louviere, the unhappy wife of Caspian Younger, whose fabulously wealthy daddy, Love, has a summer place nearby; Gretchen Horowitz, the contract killer last seen executing her gangster father in Creole Belle (2012); and of course Alafair, the ultimate target of Surrette's sadistic wrath. Series regulars will find no immunity from physical or spiritual maiming at the hands of Missoula County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Pepper, his replacement, Jack Boyd, or younger hireling Kyle Schumacher. Instead of simply absorbing threats and punishment, however, the good guys dish them out with a single-minded intensity that comes back to haunt them during the many reflective moments when they wonder what really separates them from the bad guys after all. Pruning away the florid subplots that often clutter his heaven-storming blood baths, Burke produces his most sharply focused, and perhaps his most harrowing, study of human evil, refracted through the conventions of the crime novel.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781470344702 Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcel are back in Burke's (Creole Belle) newest book, this time at a friend's ranch in Montana. Listeners may miss the environs of New Iberia, but the qualities that made Burke's other books a favorite are still here, especially the battle among good, evil, and more evil with the presence of Asa Surrette, a demonic and seemingly indestructible serial killer. Minimal help from local police puts both Dave's and Clete's daughters in danger, but the female characters are strong and resourceful. Will Patton does another excellent reading of Burke's suspenseful yet reflective thriller. His voice clearly differentiates among the characters with a tone that adds to the listener's perception of each personality. VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of Burke and of mystery/thrillers set in the American West.-Deb West, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781476710761 Bestseller Burke's 20th Dave Robicheaux novel (after 2012's Creole Belle), a powerful meditation on the nature-and smell-of evil, finds the Louisiana sheriff's detective on vacation in Montana with family and friends. There they are hounded and haunted by a psychopathic serial killer, Asa Surrette, believed to have been killed in a prison van accident. Surrette has a fate worse than death in mind for Robicheaux's journalist daughter, who interviewed him in prison. Meanwhile, his friend's daughter, one of the most damaged women in detective fiction, is working on a documentary on shale oil extraction, earning her some powerful enemies. This book could easily have been subtitled "Daddies, Don't Bring Your Daughters to Montana," as people don't just get killed: they're tortured, disfigured, and eviscerated. Robicheaux himself remains haunted by his experiences in Vietnam. But even as the stomach roils, the fingers keep turning the pages because the much-honored Burke (two Edgars, a Guggenheim Fellowship) is a master storyteller. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
...More
2012 (Western Short Novel)
Tuckers reckoning : a Ralph Compton novel
Book Jacket   by Matthew P Mayo
 
2012 (Western Long Novel)
The Coyote tracker
 Larry D Sweazy
  Book Jacket
2012 (Original Mass Market Paperback)
With blood in their eyes
 Thomas Cobb
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780816521104 In this gripping 20th-century western, Cobb (Crazy Heart) presents a fictionalized account of the bloodiest shootout in Arizona history, and the desperate manhunt that ensued in the rugged mountains and arid deserts of Arizona in 1918. Cobb masterfully creates a tale of crooked lawmen, whiskey smugglers, cowboys, and gold miners, while also illuminating the very real tension between Mormons and gentiles in a lawless region where "a man who had caught the desire for blood and had blended it with righteousness was a man to fear." When lawmen come after brothers Tom and John Power for draft evasion, the resulting gun battle leaves three lawmen dead, the Power boys' father dying, and the brothers on the run to Mexico. Cobb tells the story in two alternating parts, the gunfight and the fugitives trying to outsmart and outrun those determined to kill them, and flashbacks that reveal just how tough, ornery, and crooked folks can get when faced with temptation, opportunity, and easy money. The Powers were no angels, but then neither were the lawmen nor the local cowboys. Cobb's vivid descriptions of these wounded outlaws and expert, visceral suspense make this one of the best westerns of the year. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2012 (Western Short Novel)
Legacy of a Lawman: A Western Story
Book Jacket   Johnny D. Boggs
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781594149405 Boggs, one of the more interesting and exciting of today's western writers, nails another one with this story, based on true events, of a deputy marshal who offers to go round up a particularly dangerous fugitive, his own son. Bass Reeves is the marshal. He captures his son, Bennie, who killed his own wife, but before Bass can bring his boy to justice, Bennie is sprung free by Cherokee Bob Dozier, a train robber, murderer, and all-around bad guy. In what appears to Bass' friend, Dave, who serves as the book's narrator, to be bloody-minded stubbornness, Bass lights out after Cherokee Bob, apparently willing to risk his own life to capture his flesh and blood. Boggs, as usual, writes crisp, clean prose, using visually evocative turns of phrase at opportune moments ( His gut looked like a balloon, his hair thinning on top but with a salt-and-pepper beard thicker than the canebrakes that once dominated the banks of the Arkansas ). The story is compelling, with plenty of surprises and some adroit social commentary. A guaranteed winner for genre readers.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
...More
2012 (Western Long Novel)
Remember Ben Clayton
Book Jacket   Stephen Harrigan
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780307265814 *Starred Review* Like the statue at its center, Harrigan's novel is a stunning work of art resting on a solid base of heartbreak. The action ranges from the Texas plains to the devastated northern French landscape, with the presence of the violent Wild West strongly lingering. Wealthy rancher Lamar Clayton had raised his son alone after his much younger wife's death. Now Ben is dead, killed in WWI, and his taciturn father wants to memorialize him in bronze. Gi. Gilheaney, a brilliant, ambitious sculptor, accepts the commission. Gil's daughter Maureen, a talented artist herself, assists him while quietly pursuing her own dreams. To shape Ben's character into clay, they trace the dusty paths he once walked, but only his friend Arthur, a disfigured veteran, knows why Ben was so careless with his life. The story builds with determined momentum, providing a grimly vivid sense of place and deep insight into the creative process and family relationships. Harrigan's The Gates of the Alamo (2000) has become a modern classic, and his latest historical deserves similar acclaim.--Johnson, Sara. Copyright 2010 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780307265814 Lamar Clayton, a hard-nosed rancher in west Texas with a violent past, hires a sculptor from San Antonio to create a bronze monument to Clayton's son Ben, who died fighting in World War I. Sculptor -Gilheany, sensing the opportunity to create a final masterpiece, uncovers a tragic family history of Comanche kidnappings, secrets, and guilt. Harrigan (The Gates of the Alamo) is adept at describing his territory, from a ruined mission in 1920s San Antonio to the plains of west Texas. He's also clearly at home with the process of bronze sculpture, and we closely follow the journey of Gilheany's piece from his Texas studio to a casting foundry in New York City. While ably exploring themes of artistic struggle, aging, and family conflict, the book is most riveting in the sometimes horrific chapters on war, from the Indian Wars of the late 1800s to World War I. VERDICT An engaging novel on family conflict and the artistic process; also a book that would do well with readers of Southwest history and fiction.-John R. Cecil, Austin, TX (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A Texas rancher wants to commemorate his son, killed in World War I, by commissioning a statue, but we discover this public act covers up a failed relationship.Sculptor Francis "Gil" Gilheaney has had a checkered career. He moved to San Antonio shortly after completing a work honoring the heroes of the Alamo, but one of his recent works, The Pawnee Scout, has been destroyed by a drunken mob in Omaha. He's intrigued by an offer that comes to him from Lamar Clayton, owner of a vast tract of Texas range. While Lamar doesn't readily reveal his feelings, it's clear he's grieving for Ben, his only child, who died as a young soldier at St. Etienne on the Western Front. Gil takes the commission because of the challengeand perhaps because at the age of60 he has only one more great work in him. Accompanying him is his daughter Maureen, also a sculptor, now 32, unmarried and living in the shadow of her genius father. As Gil and Lamar get to know each other, hidden parts of their past begin to emerge. We learn, for example, that Lamar's parents had been killed by Comanches on the frontier, and for two years Lamar had been raised by the tribe. He's still suspicious of Jewell, his sister, whom the Comanches had sold to the Kiowa and who had tried to teach Ben "Indian ways," especially before his sojourn to France. We further learn that when he was part of the tribe, Lamar participated in atrocities that Ben found out about. Gil feels that to make a masterpiece he has to come to "know" Ben, and he even goes to the cemetery in France where Ben is buried. Although tempted to give up the commission altogether, Gil finally decides to complete the work.A heartening novel about art, war and the tug of family relationships.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780307265814 Harrigan's austere latest (after Challenger Park) explores, with a dry swagger, art, secrets, and family in post-WWI America. After accomplished sculptor Gil Gilheaney is commissioned by Texas rancher Lamar Clayton to sculpt a statue of his son, Ben, who died in a battle on French soil, Gil and his daughter/assistant Maureen-an artist in her own right, though with blunted ambitions-travel from New York to the Clayton ranch to research Ben's life and work on the piece. Gil picks up quickly that there's plenty Lamar isn't telling him and becomes intrigued by Lamar's past: Lamar and his sister were kidnapped and raised by Indians, and the family of Lamar's housekeeper was massacred by Indians. Maureen, meanwhile, battles her own needs for artistic expression and independence, and a young man who was with Ben when he was killed and suffered a disfiguring injury gets pulled into the ranch's orbit. Harrigan doesn't shy from the gristle-the harshness of death on the battlefield, a lynch mob's mindless lust for destruction, screwworm flies festering in a calf's castration wound-and the secrets each character holds are grim and heartbreaking. The narrative's crushing sense of despair would be impossible to endure in the hands of a lesser writer. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
...More
 
2012 (Original Mass Market Paperback)
West Texas Kill
 Johnny D. Boggs
  Book Jacket
2011 (Western Short Novel)
Snowbound
 Richard S. Wheeler
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780765316622 John Charles Fremont (1813-90), the mathematics teacher, military man, presidential candidate, and explorer, lived a storied life. In this novel, Wheeler focuses on Fremont's fourth expedition to forge a railway route along the thirty-eighth parallel, connecting St. Louis with San Francisco. Wheeler, who notes that accounts of Fremont's life vary greatly, portrays the explorer as a deeply contradictory man: courageous but self-centered; remote but highly respected; reckless but methodical. Fremont's fourth expedition was his most disastrous (several members of his team died), and Wheeler's decision to concentrate on it, rather than an episode from Fremont's military or political career, makes perfect sense: it allows the author to show us the man in all his mercurial glory, the famed explorer who will risk everything, including his own life, to break new ground. Good reading both for western-genre fans and readers of historical fiction.--Pitt, David Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765316622 Six-time Spur Award-winner Wheeler takes on the charismatic, unpredictable, and enigmatic 19th-century explorer John Fremont in this rich if overstuffed survival tale. The story begins in 1847 with Fremont losing a court-martial for mutiny and disobedience, but Fremont isn't down for long: his senator father-in-law gets Fremont set up to conduct a survey for a proposed railroad line connecting St. Louis and San Francisco. A revolving cast of narrators-Fremont, other historical figures, and fictional characters-chronicle the expedition into the Colorado mountains as winter begins, and it becomes apparent that they are falling behind schedule and are ever closer to starvation or freezing to death. Wheeler skillfully depicts the extreme conditions ("King was gaunt and drawn, the flesh gone from his face, his eyes sunk in pits.... Williams had crawled inside himself. There were great icicles hanging from his beard"), though the attentions of many narrators can tend toward the redundant and slow down what is otherwise a dramatic and colorful epic that should hook even those who already know how everything turns out. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2011 (Western Long Novel)
Last Train from Cuernavaca
Book Jacket   Lucia St. Clair Robson
2011 (Original Mass Market Paperback)
Damnation Road
Book Jacket   Max McCoy
 
2010 (Western Short Novel)
Far Bright Star
 Robert Olmstead
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781565125926 In his seventh novel, Olmstead (Coal Black Horse) delivers another richly characterized, tightly woven story of nature, inevitability and the human condition. In 1916, the aging Napoleon Childs assembles a cavalry to search for the elusive bandit Pancho Villa in Mexico. The ragtag group includes Napoleon's brother, Xenophon, and "America's eager export of losers, deadbeats, cutthroats, dilettantes, and murderers." Riding on horseback for months at a time, Napoleon finds himself and his men always just a few hours behind Villa, whose posse navigates the unforgiving terrain with ease. When a band of marauders descend upon the group, many of Napoleon's men are brutally slaughtered and Napoleon himself is left beaten and emotionally broken. After the attack, Napoleon proclaims to his brother that the person he was died out there. But this revelation doesn't last long, and soon Napoleon sets out on yet another date with destiny on the open plains with his followers. Reminiscent of Kent Haruf, Olmstead's brilliantly expressive, condensed tale of resilience and dusty determination flows with the kind of literary cadence few writers have mastered. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781565125926 Olmstead's seventh novel (after the award-winning Coal Black Horse) employs a sparse, poetic style that is appropriate for the book's bleak setting and subject matter. Set in the Mexican desert in 1916, the novel follows Napoleon Childs, a veteran soldier in the American Expeditionary Force sent to capture Pancho Villa. The futility of this mission is compounded by unendurable conditions and the pointless violence of the war. The novel revolves around an expedition to collect livestock, the grisly battle that ensues, and Childs's improbable struggle for survival. His attempts to make sense of this experience and of his life spent in the army are portrayed powerfully and subtly, and his conclusion that he has died and been reborn presages the death of the 19th-century world with the arrival of World War I. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Douglas Southard, CRA International, Inc., Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A veteran soldier battles for survival in another meditative, beautifully written novel from Olmstead (Coal Black Horse, 2007, etc.). The story begins in the summer of 1916, a few months after Pancho Villa's attack on Columbus, N.M. Officer Napoleon Childs has led a U.S. Army expedition deep into the Mexican desert in pursuit of this chimerical figure. The sun is punishing, the landscape is daunting and chasing the spookily elusive Villistas is beginning to show on Napoleon's men. Olmstead is wondrously attuned to the natural world and the realities of war; he uses sand, heat and distant mountains as a stage set, and his narrative unfolds with all the formal rigor of a Greek tragedy. The sense of pageantry is enhanced by the fact that while cavalrymen with rifles and bayonets pursue a bandoliered revolutionary in the Americas, a new kind of warfare is being invented in Europe. The futility of this particular mission, Napoleon is aware, mirrors the more general futility of a soldier's life, but he is sanguine about his vocation until his company loses a savage fight that never should have happened. Pulled from among the dead, he watches a fellow survivor tortured and killed by a band of rebels whose bloodthirsty female leader spares Napoleon so he can "tell the others what happened here." Now he must stay alive until his brother and their comrades can find him. The journey he takes recalls that of Coal Black Horse's protagonist, with the vital difference that Robey was young, while Napoleon is old. When Robey came home from the battlefields of the Civil War, he rejoined the deep, mysterious stream of life; he had hope and a future. For Napoleon, the return to life is a return to the past and, finally, a return to war. The spectacle Olmstead presents is not a pretty one, and its consolations are only for the strong and clear-minded. But the beauty and power of his prose will keep most readers from looking away. Brutal, tender and magnificent. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781565125926 This relatively short novel packs a potent emotional wallop. It takes place in the Mexican desert during the 1916 buildup to World War I. The spare, often poetic prose conveys the raw violence, brutality, and quixotic actions of people at war. More than a slice of life but less than an epic, the tale centers on the leadership and (through flashback and dreams) past life of Napoleon Childs, an American cavalryman. Charged with turning raw recruits into cavalrymen in preparation for America's entry into WWI, Childs leads them in searches for Pancho Villa through the canyons and arroyos of a bleak yet lyrically rendered landscape. The third-person narration, largely from the point of view of Childs himself, lends itself to acute characterization yet leaves a lot of room for hypothetical thinking and reader speculation. Childs' foreshadowing aside, the climax still shocks with cruelty: the resolution is realistic and limns a case of extreme rough justice. Give this to Olmstead groupies, western fans, and lovers of refined, focused writing.--Loughran, Ellen Copyright 2009 Booklist
...More
  Book Jacket
2010 (Western Long Novel)
Echoes of Glory
 Robert Flynn
  Book Jacket
 
2010 (Original Mass Market Paperback)
Stranger in Thunder Basin
Book Jacket   John D. Nesbitt.
2009 (Western Short Novel)
Another mans moccasins
Book Jacket   Craig Johnson.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780670018611 Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire (Kindness Goes Unpunished) flashes back to his Vietnam War experiences when a photograph of him is found in the purse of a murdered young Vietnamese woman. Johnson's engrossing tale offers a sympathetic view of young Americans in a foreign environment trying to do their jobs under difficult circumstances. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A decades-dead Vietnamese bar girl plays a starring role in a contemporary Wyoming murder investigation. Walt Longmire, Sheriff of Absaroka County, has been acting as rehab coach for his daughter Cady, an assault victim (Kindness Goes Unpunished, 2007). But he's called away to deal with a dead Vietnamese girl alongside the highway. The murder trail leads to a derelict Crow Indian by the name of Virgil White Buffalo, but the case is complicated when a tattered photograph found in the girl's pocket shows Walt and a young prostitute back in the 1960s. How did this girl come to have this picture? Flashbacks show Walt reliving his war experiences and relationships but hardly prepare him for the arrival of Tran Van Tuyen, who claims to be the dead girl's grandfather. Meanwhile, Virgil's in lockup, wolfing down pizzas at the county's expense. There are indications that Ho Thi Paquet, the dead girl, was here illegally, perhaps a "dust child," the offspring of an American GI and a Vietnamese woman, and that another girl was traveling with her before she died. The sad resolution will do little to heal Asian/American tragedies past and current. The back story, with its venality, racism and murder, is riveting, and Johnson dovetails Walt's life then and now with great skill. Readers who've come to admire Walt's cohort, Henry Standing Bear, will want to award him the Medal of Honor for his war exploits. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Starred Review. At the start of Johnson's stellar fourth mystery to feature Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire (after 2007's Kindness Goes Unpunished), Walt responds to a call that leads to the discovery of the body of a young Vietnamese woman, Ho Thi Paquet, along an Absaroka County highway. Squatting nearby with Paquet's purse is a massive Crow Indian later identified as Virgil White Buffalo. When Walt finds a photograph of himself and a Vietnamese barmaid taken in 1968 among the victim's belongings, Walt realizes that the murder isn't as clear-cut as it appears. With the help of his longtime friend, Cheyenne Indian Henry Standing Bear, Walt retraces Paquet's steps and uncovers disturbing links to a California human trafficking ring as well as to his own past as a military inspector in Vietnam. Vivid war flashbacks give a glimpse of a younger but no less determined Walt. Full of crackling dialogue, this absorbing tale demonstrates that Longmire is still the sheriff in town. 4-city author tour. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780670018611 In Kindness Goes Unpunished (2007), Absaroka County, Wyoming, Sheriff Walt Longmire took a road trip to Philadelphia. In a sense, he's on the road this time, too, but his traveling takes place inside his head, after the discovery of the body of a young Vietnamese woman prompts memories of Walt's first homicide investigation as a marine in Vietnam. It isn't just the victim's origins that send Walt down a nightmare-cluttered memory lane; found with her belongings is a picture of another Vietnamese woman, who looks strikingly like someone Walt knew very well more than 40 years earlier. Juxtaposing the current investigation against flashbacks to Vietnam, Johnson is able to reveal several new layers to the fascinating character of the aging, kindly, homespun sheriff and his best friend, Henry Standing Bear, who served with him in Vietnam. This series has distinguished itself so far with its rich portrayal of human relationships and daily life in small-town Wyoming. Those characteristics are well in evidence here, but the addition of the vivid and powerful Vietnam scenes provides a welcome jolt of frisson.--Ott, Bill Copyright 2008 Booklist
...More
 
2009 (Western Long Novel)
Shavetail : a novel
 Thomas Cobb.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781416561194 A shavetail is a young mule paired with an older mule to learn its work. Brickner, who is as wise and as contrary as any old mule, dubs 17-year-old Ned Thorne a shavetail and does his best to educate him on how to survive in the U.S. Army in 1871 Arizona. Ned's brutal training includes fighting, drinking, rustling cattle, and mule driving, before concluding when his cavalry chases a band of renegade Apaches into Mexico. When things go wrong, Ned must choose between the commonsense villainy of Brickner or his own conscience. Ostensibly about Ned, Shavetail is actually a thoughtful character study of four redemption-seeking men-Captain Franklin, Lieutenant Austin, Brickner, and Ned-not to mention a fine western. Readers will also find in Cobb's second novel (after Crazy Heart) nicely wrought coming-of-age elements. Highly recommended for all collections.-Ken St. Andre, Phoenix P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781416561194 Cobb's darkly symbolic coming-of-age tale follows Ned Thorne, a young soldier who is assigned to a remote outpost in Arizona, 1871, pursued by his own personal demons straight into a hell where the simple act of erecting a bakery to provide the soldiers with basic nourishment becomes a fatal undertaking. The boy endures his interior torments along with brutal encounters with fellow soldiers, while trying to maintain a sense of wonder with the natural world that seems just as likely to kill him as the renegade band of Apaches his patrol is assigned to track down. For all the desperation and doom, though, Cobb manages to inject a good deal of humor (in the form of a hapless simpleton wrangling such confounding complexities as the written word) and compassion (in the form of a sympathetic but ineffectual lieutenant) into the telling, in which seemingly abstract battles between right and wrong explode into life-and-death decisions, with the hand heavily tipped toward the latter. Call this a Western, but only if you also call Cormac McCarthy a cowpoke.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2008 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781416561194 Set in 1871 Arizona, the second novel from Cobb (Crazy Heart) is a thoughtful western that is more character-driven adventure tale than plot-driven novel. Connecticut runaway Ned Thorne, 17, joins the cavalry and lands at Camp Grant, a nascent outpost along the edge of Arizona's Chiricahua mountains. Capt. Robert Franklin thinks his command of Camp Grant punitive duty for an earlier disastrous campaign; the discovery of a pillaged farmhouse and the kidnapping of a woman by renegade Apaches provide an opportunity for Franklin to redeem his honor. Using the actual Camp Grant massacre as a frame for the story, Cobb produces some marvelous, richly described scenes, and he does a fair job with period detail (though punctilious western fans will find some anachronisms). Setting and plot, however, are of secondary importance to the deeper developing revelations of the three main characters-the third being Lt. Anthony Austin, who leads a harrowing chase through the mountains. Their introspective analyses go a long way, but there's a disjointed sense to the whole, which teeters between straight realism and Cormac McCarthy-style flights of mysticism. The real eventually wins, and the results are less than satisfying. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A stubborn young man with a checkered past tries to find his path at a U.S. Army base in the Arizona frontier. Tucson is a dangerous place in 1871, brimming with thieves, whores and daily brawls among the Apache, entrepreneurial trailblazers and drunken U.S. soldiers. Nearby at Camp Bowie, Ned Thorne, the educated 17-year-old son of a Hartford shopkeeper, doesn't quite fit in. Clearly running away from something, which he achingly alludes to in unfinished letters to his brother, Ned both fears and uses his violent temper, hoping it will prove his manhood to his elders, particularly his partner, a conniving man named Brickner. Ned becomes the assistant to the captain, and they form a tentative bond, finally revealing that Ned's shame came from his brother's accidental death, for which he has taken responsibility. Tragedy strikes when Apaches invade a nearby ranch, killing two men and kidnapping a woman. Upon investigation, Ned's illiterate bunkmate steals the woman's journal and bequeaths it to Ned, who quickly becomes engrossed in her story. Like Ned, the woman had fled her New England home, though the frontier was not what she expected—her betrothed died en route, and she became stuck in a loveless marriage to an Arizona rancher. Both the journal and a series of bloody squabbles with the Apache lead to an impromptu mission to save the woman, which takes the men into unchartered territory, results in a bloodbath and tests young Ned's fortitude. After building suspense, the author abruptly abandons both his hero and his reader in the aftermath of battle. Nonetheless, Cobb, in his first novel since his debut (Crazy Heart, 1987), ably recreates the American frontier. Tender and action-packed, a historical western with everything but the ending. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
...More
  Book Jacket
2009 (Original Mass Market Paperback)
Trouble at the Redstone
 John D. Nesbitt.
  Book Jacket
 
2009 (First Novel)
Gods thunderbolt : the vigilantes of Montana
Book Jacket   by Carol Buchanan.
2008 (Western Nonfiction Biography)
Frontiersman: Daniel Boone and the Making of America
Book Jacket   Meredith Mason Brown
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved This is the fourth biography of Boone since 1992—it's the most readable and balanced, and, because it benefits from those earlier studies, also the most complete and satisfying. Every biographer of Boone has to contend with the idolatry that grew up around the man when he was alive. But Brown, in his first book, steers clear of hero worship. He sees Boone whole, praising him where praise is warranted while scrupulously recording his failings—risking his family's lives, losing sons in battles with Indians, never succeeding as a land speculator. Yet Boone emerges again as a truly remarkable figure. Caught up in the Revolutionary War, the unending Indian warfare that followed and westward expansion, he managed to remain a loyal American while moving among the tribes whose ways he knew and, unlike so many others, respected. His legendary marksmanship and daring protected him and his followers for decades. Brown's Boone remains a larger-than-life figure: heroic without posturing, steadfast without foolishness, patriotic without Indian hatred. This is a book for those who seek an accurate, not pietistic, history of a way of life long past. 25 illus., 8 maps. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780807133569 Long before his death in 1820 at the age of 85, the exploits, both real and exaggerated, of Daniel Boone were embedded in our national lore. As this well-researched biography reveals, the reality of Boone's achievements and the strength of his character still make him an important and admirable historical figure. Brown dispenses with much of the popular mythology surrounding Boone: he was no illiterate bumpkin, as his letters prove. Although several family members had been killed in Indian attacks, Boone himself usually interacted peacefully with Indians. Extolled as an American patriot and hero, Boone was rather comfortable as a British national prior to the Revolution. Boone was born into a Pennsylvania Quaker family. From an early age, he was an enthusiastic and skilled hunter. His wanderlust consistently placed him a step ahead of the mass of trans-Appalachian settlers, leading him from Kentucky to Missouri. Yet Boone was a devoted family man, rarely skirting family or communal responsibilities. This is an easily digestible account.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2008 Booklist
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780807133569 Good biographies of Daniel Boone abound, the recent ones being Michael Lofaro's Daniel Boone: An American Life and Robert Morgan's Boone: A Biography, so Brown, a lawyer whose ancestors knew Boone quite well, sees no need to tread familiar biographical territory. Instead, he explores Boone's role in transforming the United States from a collection of English Colonies on the Atlantic seaboard to a young republic that stretched to the Rocky Mountains and how Boone illustrates the fluidity and conflicting loyalties of the frontier. As part of this exploration, Brown examines Boone's complex relationships with American Indians and looks at Boone's work as a surveyor, pronouncing him competent, and showing how conflicting land claims and surveys made it almost impossible for Boone to realize anything but trouble from the land he acquired in Kentucky. By taking a different approach to Boone and carefully basing his judgments on primary sources, Brown has produced a well-written book that nicely complements the earlier biographies. Thus it belongs in most academic and public libraries.--Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780807133569 It is no doubt Daniel Boone's iconic status that brings yet another biography of him, the third in the last 16 years. Brown's work joins John Faragher (Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer, CH, May'93, 30-5205) and Michael Lofaro's editions (e.g., Daniel Boone: An American Life, CH, Apr'04, 41-4861) in essaying the impact of Boone as nation builder and classic American protohero. None, unfortunately, can resist the seduction of Lyman Draper's vast collections, falling prey time and again to tales dependent on the fragile memories of aged frontier folk who claimed to have known the legendary frontiersman or to have known someone who knew him. Consequently, there are some stories that stretch one's credulity. Attorney Brown seems particularly tempted in that direction, especially if there is some gory scene to relate. The result is more often a Kentucky tall tale of Boone's exploits than the straightforward biography one would want. If authors could steer past the Scylla and Charybdis of Draper's The Life of Boone (1998) and the mountain of reminiscences in his various frontier incunabula, choosing instead the documented episodes of Boone's life in North Carolina, Kentucky, and Missouri, there would still be adventure aplenty within the parameters of his life. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. J. H. O'Donnell III Marietta College
...More
 
2008 (Western Novel)
The God of Animals
 Aryn Kyle
  Book Jacket
2009 (Western Nonfiction Historical)
Hunting the American West : the pursuit of big game for life, profit, and sport from 1800-1900
 Richard C. Rattenbury ; foreword by E. Norman Flayderman.
  Book Jacket
 
2009 (Western Nonfiction Contemporary)
Full-court quest : the girls from Fort Shaw Indian School, basketball champions of the world
Book Jacket   Linda Peavy ; Ursula Smith.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780806139739 At the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, the girls' basketball team from the tiny Fort Shaw Indian School of Montana bested the field to win the designation of World Champions.   Peavy and Smith, two distinguished historians, began their research into this long-forgotten athletic milestone when they discovered a single photograph in the archives of the Montana Historical Society in 1997. This book is the product of 10 years of research, which included interviews with the descendants of the principles and study of newspaper accounts and public records. The authors recount the basketball side of Fort  Shaw's unlikely triumph and place it within the larger context of American and Native American history. They also explore the dynamics of tribal affiliation as it related to the team and the family pressures that came into play as these young women embarked on a decidedly nontraditional adventure. Along with the historical detail, the authors are able to re-create the personalities of the players, giving the book narrative appeal and turning what could have been the dry history of an obscure event into a vibrant human story of accomplishment.--Lukowsky, Wes Copyright 2008 Booklist
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780806139739 In March 2009, St. Louis hosted arguably the most talked about women's sport event in the US, the NCAA Women's Final Four. Peay and Smith look at a gathering in St. Louis a century earlier: ten young women--representing seven Indian nations from the Fort Shaw Indian School--brought honor to themselves and their ancestors by becoming basketball "champions" of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Thanks to meticulous research (in Bureau of Indian Affairs reports, letters, newspapers, magazines, oral histories from the players' descendants, and photographs), the authors offer both a compelling narrative about these women's experience--as they left families on reservations and farms and adjusted to the forces of assimilation in a government-run boarding school--and insights into white-Indian relations, gendered expectations for men and women, and regional and national attitudes. Navigating racially charged social and political terrain with dignity and purpose, the women on the Fort Shaw team forged their own identity and became celebrities at a time when few women achieved public acclaim and notoriety. A fine book, complementing John Bloom's To Show What an Indian Can Do (2000), Sally Jenkins's The Real All Americans (2007), and Ian Frazier's On the Rez (2000). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. E. J. Staurowsky Ithaca College
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Another fascinating tale of fortitude and passion from the longtime women's history partnership of Peavy and Smith (Frontier Children, 1999, etc.). Here the authors look back to the turn of the 20th century to chronicle and contextualize the lives of some of the first basketball players to gain national attention: the ten "aboriginal maidens" from Fort Shaw Government Indian Boarding School in Sun River Valley, Mont. Opening its doors in 1892, the nation's 14th off-reservation boarding school brought together from seven tribes in communities and reservations across Montana and Idaho ten young women who would so excel at a sport invented only the year before that they would go on to be crowned basketball champions of the world at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. The authors painstakingly trace the backgrounds of the various players, showing how many came from broken homes to cohere as a team both on the court and when put on display as exemplars of the federal government's educational aim to "kill the Indian [to] save the man." Particularly in St. Louis, where the girls resided and performed for five months as living exhibits at the fair's Model Indian School, which attracted some 30,000 visitors a day, they constantly straddled the difficult divide between defying and meeting the expectations of others. The authors hasten to point out the irony (and brevity) of their unique situation: "Even as the girls were center court and center stage in St. Louis, the Indian School Service was setting in motion sweeping changes that emphasized domestic and manual training to the exclusion of the very academic, artistic, and athletic programs that had been at the heart of a Fort Shaw education." Meticulous, moving account of how basketball helped shape the lives of ten American Indian women at the dawn of the 20th century. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780806139739 Adult/High School-At the turn of the 20th century, an important aspect of the federal policy toward many American Indian tribes was assimilation through education. Boarding schools were established off reservation, as well as on, and government officials actively and aggressively recruited children to attend them. Among the students in the school established at Fort Shaw in Montana were a group of young women who would become famous in Montana, and a popular attraction at the 1904 World's Fair. Their story is told in this well-researched and well-documented book. Leaving their families and arriving at different ages for different reasons, they came together to play the new game of basketball and were quite successful. Peavy and Smith's book is a remarkably rosy picture of an Indian boarding school. While the authors mention that students ran away, that they were separated from their families for long periods of time, and that they were required to speak only English and leave behind traditional dress and culture, these factors seem not to have affected these talented athletes. It is not until the last few pages that the authors specifically, and briefly, address the cost of the success of the girls' team, and the federal Indian educational policy. Still, the book tells a story long forgotten about these "world champions."-Mary Ann Harlan, Arcata High School, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
2009 (Juvenile Fiction)
I am Apache
Book Jacket   Tanya Landman.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved On the shortlist for the 2008 Carnegie Medal, Landman's U.S. debut takes its inspiration from references to a woman warrior who fought alongside Geronimo. Landman's own heroine, the narrator Siki, is 14 when she witnesses Mexicans murder her younger brother and vows revenge. Proving herself a brave and cunning fighter, she is allowed to accompany the strongest men on raids against their ruthless enemies, who desecrate the earth by digging mines. The White Eyes, Siki knows, had no understanding that the bounty of Mother Earth was made for all to share.... They hoarded more than they needed, piling it all into a great heap that they defended like snarling dogs. Siki also experiences visions (or has the Power, as Landman puts it), and she faces test after test of her loyalty. Some readers may be put off by the deliberately exotic tone of Siki's voice: I could not see the face of [my enemy] Keste, but my presence was like a pebble dropped into a still pool: his ill humor rippled outward. Others, however, will relish her fiery spirit and feel the joy of her victories and, when ultimate defeat appears imminent, share the pain of her losses. Ages 12–up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763636647 Landman uses the tale of the woman who fought at the side of Geronimo as the kernel for her characters, world making, and plot, all of which ring with authenticity. Siki, a nineteenth-century Apache girl, describes the events of her teen years, from her young brother's death during a Mexican raid, through her work to become a full-fledged warrior, and to the death of her mentor, Golahka. Interactions among Siki's own people including her rogue peer who leaves the tribe rather than submit to its code of honor, and Siki's own acceptance as a female warrior and those between the Apache, the Mexicans, and the White Eyes, who destroy the old ways of the native peoples, are woven skillfully into the action. With an eloquent voice and dignified pace, Landman creates a credible and artistic story with excellent characterization and engaging psychological and sociopolitical questions. Although this will appeal to historical fiction or western readers, this well-written novel has much to offer those who are not genre readers as well.--Goldsmith, Francisca Copyright 2008 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. This absorbing tale of a teenage Apache girl who becomes a warrior comes to readers from a British author fascinated by the subject. Landman did her historical homework well, her research including both primary and secondary resources and enabling her to tell the story not only of her protagonist, Siki, but also of the ultimately futile struggles of the Apache to save their homeland from encroaching invaders. She witnesses the deaths of nearly her whole family at the hands of Mexicans and vows revenge. More talented with weaponry than women's work, she enters training as a warrior and is accepted by most, but not all, of her male companions. The lively narrative is peppered with action scenes, all loosely based on historical events, and with Siki's speculations about her missing father. Her clairvoyant experiences become a vehicle for exploring the Apaches' religious beliefs. Constantly engrossing, this offering will engage young readers in a way no textbook can. (historical note, bibliography) (Historical fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763636647 Gr 7 Up-At the end of the 19th century, 14-year-old Siki is a member of Arizona's (fictional) Black Mountain Apache, and an orphan who lost both parents in battles with Mexicans. When she witnesses the brutal slaying of her four-year-old brother, Tazhi, by Mexican raiders, she vows to avenge his death and earns an unusual place, through her skills and relentless training, as a warrior among the men of her tribe. In an overwrought, floridly poetic first-person narrative (e.g., "the wind flowed in [Tazhi's] veins, and the sun itself seemed to shine through his eyes when he smiled"), Landman takes readers on a complex adventure full of jealousy, romance, visions, dark family secrets, bloody battles, daring rescues, and painful dealings with Mexicans and double-crossing "White Eyes." Historical accuracy is questionable, despite research evident not only in an extensive bibliography, but also in Siki's copious explanations of tribal ways and customs. Landman states in a historical note that every tribe and place name is fictional, and that she's "made no attempt to produce an accurate historical novel." Despite some efforts to create complex, "real" human characters and interactions, readers will certainly take away a notion of the Apache as wronged but brutal, doomed, vengeful warriors, and 19th-century Mexicans as heartless villains. Exciting, but problematic, to say the least.-Riva Pollard, Prospect Sierra Middle School, El Cerrito, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
 
2009 (Juvenile Nonfiction)
The trial of Standing Bear
 by Frank Keating, Paintings by Mike Wimmer.
  Book Jacket
2009 (Storyteller Award)
The wheat doll
 Alison L. Randall ; illustrated by Bill Farnsworth.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781561454563 Based on events that took place in rural nineteenth-century Utah, this story should resonate with twenty-first-century children who have grown deeply attached to a doll or stuffed animal. In her picture-book debut, Randall tells of Mary Ann, a little girl whose prize companion is a cloth doll filled with wheat; she carries Betty in her apron pocket and talks to her as she goes about her chores. When the doll gets lost outside in a storm, Mary Ann is bereft, calling and hunting, the garden blurred by her tears. The melodrama of these pages may seem overcooked to an adult, but Randall soon rewards young readers with the recovery of the lost friend: during planting season, Mary Ann spots a patch of green shoots sprouting from the mud, harvests the kernels of grain, and restores Betty to her former self. Farnsworth's oil paintings and the overall book design possess an unhurried, old-fashioned quality; and they complement Randall's simple, heartfelt story.--Nolan, Abby Copyright 2008 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781561454563 Gr 1-4-Mary Ann is a pioneer girl who lives on a rustic Utah farm with her mother and father. Her best friend is her homemade wheat-filled doll. One day Mary Ann sets Betty on a stump while she pulls carrots in the garden. Suddenly a storm sweeps across the valley, and Mary Ann's parents hurry her into the safety of the cabin. After the storm, the girl searches everywhere but she cannot find her beloved doll. Mary Ann is lonely without it all winter, but in spring she discovers a doll-shaped patch of wheat sprouting from the mud near where the toy was lost. She tends the sprouts and makes a new doll from the grains. This is a sweet story of loss and renewal told with empathy and feeling that is never heavy-handed. There is just the right amount of detail to make the setting seem real without bogging down the narrative. Farnsworth's realistic oil paintings have a warm, soft quality that matches the tone of the text. Like the author, he adds just enough detail to establish the setting without distracting from the main subject. This picture book is a great addition to all collections, but has special appeal to libraries in areas with a pioneer heritage.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2008 (Nonfiction Contemporary)
Lone Star Lawmen: The Second Century of the Texas Rangers
Book Jacket   Robert M. Utley
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780195154443 In this follow-up to Lone Star Justice, Utley tells how the Texas Rangers entered the 20th century as an effective if idiosyncratic law enforcement outfit and entered the 21st century as the investigative arm of the Texas Department of Public Safety. In a dry style, Utley describes the Rangers' various commanders, troopers and exploits. Through the first third of the 20th century, the Rangers operated in an extralegal fashion-their existence was at the whim of whoever occupied the governor's mansion in Austin. It wasn't until 1935 that the Rangers were made official and brought into the newly formed DPS. Utley is far too enamored of the Rangers for his book's good. While his precise if plodding prose doesn't hype the Rangers' exploits, and he acknowledges a "dark period" early in the 20th century when weak leaders failed to control their men, he treads so lightly on so many issues-prisoner treatment (brutal), racial integration (belated) and especially gender equality (a glaring problem Utley chalks up to "the lack of female applicants")-that it is hard to see this as the definitive account it aspires to be. 30 b&w illus. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A continuation of the author's Lone Star Justice (2001), bringing the tale of the renowned—and sometimes infamous—Texas Rangers to the present. Founded to battle Comanches and other Indians on the open range, the unit that ranks among the world's best-known police detachments became not very particular about its targets along about the time of the Mexican Revolution, when this sequel gathers steam. The decade of the revolution (1910–20) is, writes Utley, "the blackest period in the history of the Texas Rangers"; so vigorous were the special agents in keeping the border under Anglo control that police murders of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were common. One Army scout reported, for instance, finding the bodies of ten Mexicans hanging alongside a road, each with a bullet in the forehead, which one former Ranger called the brand of the unit in a process known along the borderlands as "evaporation." Utley condemns the Rangers of the time for undermining rather than upholding the law, proceeding to a period in which the governor commissioned Rangers to "carry a gun and arrest law-breakers, such as editors, executives, and bankers" who dared oppose his enlightened rule. In time, conditions changed, giving credence to the thought that good politics make for good police. Usually few in number, the Rangers dwindled into the Depression, when constant bank robberies gave them new opportunities to fan their six-shooters. In the modern era, they had to adjust to conditions, admitting women into the unit (none too successfully); attending to strange confrontations with the Branch Davidians (more successfully than did federal authorities) and right-wing militias; and recruiting minority officers none too enthusiastically. On that note, it is something of an irony, given the Rangers' Latino-hating tendencies of old, that Utley considers the best of the best Rangers to have been one Manuel Gonzaullas, whom he deems an "exemplary leader." A valuable addition to the library of Texana. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
...More
2008 (Young Readers)
Doubtful Canon
Book Jacket   Johnny D. Boggs
 
2007 (Western Novel)
The Night Journal
 Elizabeth Crook
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780670034772 At age 37, Meg Mabry, a single, overworked medical engineer, still hasn't found her place in the world, a predicament due in part to her rejection of her heritage. She's the great-granddaughter of Hannah Bass, a woman whose journals about frontier life in New Mexico (dating 1891 to 1902) have become famous thanks to Meg's grandmother Claudia Bass (Bassie), a historian who built her career promoting the diaries. But Meg resents the domineering Bassie (who raised her) and refuses to read the journals, acoping strategy Crook doesn't make entirely credible. Meg finally delves into Hannah's story when she reluctantly accompanies her grandmother from Austin, Tex., to Pecos, N. Mex. There, a discovery at the burial site of Hannah's dogs calls into question the veracity of Bassie's life work. Meg, meanwhile, falls for archeologist Jim Layton and embarks on a journey into her family's past that will confront her with some difficult truths about herself. Excerpts from the journals punctuate the layered but sometimes unconvincingly plotted narrative, and the historical detail depicts the uneasy late 19th-century melding of Anglo, Native American and Mexican cultures. Crook's third novel (after Promised Lands) blends mystery, chick-lit-style romance and historical fiction for a glimpse of the current and past American West. (Feb. 6) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780670034772 Meg is sick of her family history-great-grandmother Hannah was famed for diaries detailing her daring life on the frontier as a Harvey Girl and subsequently a railroad engineer's wife. But then Meg discovers that the diaries may not have been entirely truthful. With a six-city tour. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
2007 (Nonfiction Contemporary)
Copper Chorus: Mining, Politics and the Montana press
 Dennis L. Swibold
  Book Jacket
 
2007 (Young Readers)
Geronimo
Book Jacket   Joseph Bruchac
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780439353601 Gr. 7-10. While Bruchac's unnamed narrator is fictional, this novel of Geronimo, the great Chiricahua Apache, is grounded in facts. It begins in September 1886, when Geronimo and many of his band--including his adopted adolescent grandson, who recounts these events as an adult looking back--were taken from Arizona to Florida on a crowded train. At each stop, the terrified prisoners wonder if they will be killed or merely humiliated, as curious White Eyes stop to gawk and to buy artifacts from the Indian passengers. Geronimo's patience and canny wisdom come through, even when his group ends up in a humid, insect-infested place and must struggle to find employment. For his part, the narrator keeps himself from being sent to the infamous Carlisle Indian School, where young Indians were stripped of their culture and often contracted tuberculosis. The pace is stately and the storytelling occasionally dense, but many readers will be fascinated by this close-up view of a valiant leader and the hardships endured by his people. Excerpts from primary source documents open each chapter and anchor the fiction in history. --GraceAnne DeCandido Copyright 2006 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780439353601 Gr 5-10-Starting in 1886 with Geronimo's final surrender, this novel is told from the perspective of his adopted grandson Little Foot, and follows the Chiricahua Apaches from their home in Arizona to Florida. At Fort Marion, the group dwindles, losing children to the Carlisle Indian School, where those who contract tuberculosis are sent home to die and spread the disease. Little Foot escapes this fate and eventually joins the U.S. Infantry. Bruchac's narrative meanders and shifts, but he sprinkles the trail with excitement and humor. Little Foot himself points out, "I know that most White Eyes readers are less patient than Indians and prefer short stories that are easy to understand," and some young people will find this one difficult. But fans of history, or of themes of survival and freedom, will find it fascinating-and certainly different from other fare about the man. The fictional Little Foot affords Bruchac the perfect point of view to observe and interpret Geronimo's life, explaining where the history books got it wrong, and offering insights that won't be found there. There is not enough explanation about how Bruchac constructed his story from his sources (listed at the end). Nonetheless, as the author develops a compelling picture of a people driven by universal and recognizable motives, readers may find this story more persuasive than the nonfiction sources available in most libraries.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780439353601 In this historical novel, Geronimo's adopted grandson tells the story of the heroic Chiricahua Apache warrior and medicine man who resisted U.S. government encroachment. The story is dense with historical facts (not always smoothly integrated in the narrative), but there is enough adventure and excitement to keep readers interested and engaged. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. "You will remember it all," Geronimo says to his grandson at Fort Sill, Okla., in 1908. Imprisoned there, Geronimo is at the end of his long life, and Willie is to remember and tell Geronimo's story: the prison trains and the forced moves, betrayals by the White Eyes, fighting against Mexican and American soldiers, removal of the Apaches from the Southwest to Florida and Geronimo's ride in Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade. But for Willie to narrate the tale is limiting, distancing the reader and sometimes making Geronimo himself seem peripheral to Willie's own story; any potential drama is sapped from the narrative. It's a story told rather than brought to the great, dramatic life it could have lived on the page. Also, since the heart of the narrative is the journey to Florida, maps would have helped readers follow the trek. Overall, though, this is an important, carefully researched work that will fill a gap in most collections. (afterword, chronology, bibliography, acknowledgments) (Fiction. 12+) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
...More
2006 (Western Novel - tie)
Camp Ford: A Western Story
Book Jacket   Johnny D. Boggs
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781594141294 In 1946 99-year-old Win McNaughton is an honored guest at a World Series game in St. Louis. He has spent a lifetime in and around baseball as a player, umpire, and manager. Asked by reporters to recount his baseball life, McNaughton focuses on his teenage years, when he joined the Union Army at 17 and became a prisoner of war at Camp Ford, the largest camp west of the Mississippi River. It was there that McNaughton helped organize a baseball game between the Union prisoners and their Confederate guards. The game, initially seen as an excuse to break the monotony of Camp Ford's dreary routine, soon becomes a mini-Civil War, as the Confederates, with their fortunes waning on the real battlefields, struggle to maintain dominance on the diamond. Boggs' carefully researched novel boasts meticulously drawn characters and captures in a striking way the amazing changes America underwent during the span of one man's life. An unusual, very rich western that should attract not only genre readers but also baseball fans and Civil War buffs. --Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2005 Booklist
...More
 
2006 (Western Novel - tie)
The Undertakers Wife
 Loren D. Estleman
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780765309136 As in The Master Executioner, his 2001 tour de force, Estleman picks an unpopular profession and draws from it two compelling characters, and a memorable love story as well. Circa 1900, retired undertaker Richard Connable is pressed back into service by a cabal of powerful men who want him to work his "invisible art" on the corpse of a major financier who has committed suicide (the men want to disguise the cause of death and thereby avert economic panic). In his absence, Richard's estimable wife, Lucy, sensing the approach of her own death, recalls their story: the adventures that took them to Michigan, San Francisco, Kansas, Montana and elsewhere; Richard's professional development and friendship with Wild Bill Hickock; and the death of Richard and Lucy's only child. Well researched and meticulously detailed, offering a vivid picture of Victorian America, the novel is also marked by moments of grace and wit. The last third of this bittersweet love story, though, is a truncated summary of the rest of the Connables' lives, and the last 30 pages are rushed, losing depth and quality. Even so, the novel offers a superlative love story and a fascinating look at a misunderstood vocation. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Master stylist and storyteller Estleman, who writes mainly about professionals like himself, offers a gilded companion to The Master Executioner (2001). The protagonist of that previous volume was a hangman; here, the expert is an undertaker. Three months before the turn of the 20th century, famed capitalist Elihu Warrick has shot himself in the head in his first-class stateroom on the Michigan Central railroad. To save the market, five colossal stockbrokers in New York decide that Warrick's suicide must be passed off as a natural death, with his open casket on display. They call in Richard Connable, retired master of the Dismal Trade and artist of the Connable Method for preparing bodies for burial. He leaves at once from his home in Buffalo to claim the cadaver in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Richard's badly run-down wife, Lucy, thinks of her spouse as "elephantiastically unobservant." Lucy too has washed and painted corpses; now she's afraid her own skull shows through as she goes to Richard's old funeral parlor to choose her casket while he's away. Her thoughts turn to their past. During the Civil War, young Richard, at the time an apprentice to his undertaker father, restored for burial Lucy's dead brother's ruined head. He and Lucy married, moved to San Francisco, built and opened a funeral parlor. Driven out of town by a crooked colonel, they moved with daughter Victoria to Fort Hays, Kan., where Sheriff Wild Bill Hickok resolved a problem for Richard with the four Rooneys' cheapo mortuary. Spiritual events drive the Connables to many towns before settling down in Buffalo. But tragic moments have already come, more strongly than the reader foresees. Tons of absorbing scenes of embalming and cosmetic restoration—but no ghastly Wisconsin Death Trip. (Winner of The Kirkus Award for Hand-Carved Walnut Historical Prose 2005.) . Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
...More
  Book Jacket
2006 (Novel of the West)
High Country: A Novel
 Willard Wyman
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780806136974 Wyman's first novel tells the tale of Ty Hardin, a quiet young man who becomes a kind of legend in the Montana mountains. Readers are treated to the significant parts of Ty's life-how he learns to be a packer who can guide mule trains into any wilderness, his outdoor adventures, the people he knows and loves, how he flourishes, and how he dies. Having been a wrangler, guide, and packer, Wyman knows the West, the mountains and the high country, and their inhabitants so that readers come to know them, too. Solid, powerful, realistic writing makes for an exciting debut. Highly recommended for regional collections about the West and larger fiction collections.-Ken St. Andre, Phoenix P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2006 (Young Readers)
Black Storm Comin
Book Jacket   Diane Lee Wilson
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780689871375 Gr. 7-10. On a wagon train headed to California, Colton is left to care for his family after his father accidentally shoots him and then runs off in horror. His mixed race family (Pa was white; Ma is black) is harassed, ignored, and finally abandoned by their fellow travelers, but Colton still manages to lead his mother and siblings to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas before Ma's illness stops them. Ma entrusts Colton with her sister's freedom papers and begs him to deliver them to Sacramento, their ultimate destination. To meet her request, Colton joins the Pony Express--a job that brings further hardship and danger as Colton braves the coming winter to carry the mail on its final leg into California. Set in 1860, with the pending Civil War as its backdrop, Wilson's novel subtly exposes the dangers of being mixed race in a volatile society. Wilson masterfully creates a multidimensional character in Colton, who possesses both youthful impetuousness and the wisdom of a man who has seen too much sadness for his young years. Societal barriers, played out larger than life in Colton's heart and mind, are the ultimate strength of this story. Readers will absorb greater lessons as they become engrossed in the excitement, beauty, and terror of Colton's journey to California and manhood. --Frances Bradburn Copyright 2005 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780689871375 Gr 6-10-In 1860, Colton Wescott, 12, is determined to keep his Sacramento-bound family alive and heading west. His distraught white father abandons the family after accidentally shooting his son; the wagon master has ordered the mixed-race family to leave the wagon train; his freed-slave mother is sick from childbirth; and his two sisters cling to Colton in hopes of survival. When they finally arrive in Chinatown, 12 miles outside Carson City, NV, a sign for Pony Express riders captivates Colton, who lies about his age, passes for white, demonstrates his horse-handling skill, and is hired for the dangerous ride over the mountains. When he is injured in a fall, he loses his job but decides to take matters into his own hands. Eschewing the superintendent's orders and Pony Express protocol, he grabs the mail, rides his own temperamental horse, and heads for Sacramento, knowing he might be carrying news of two subversive plots "to blow up some forts and steal some ammunition" and to assassinate Presidential candidate Lincoln. Heroically, Colton delivers the mail, finds his mother's runaway sister, and gives her precious legal papers proving her freedom. Colton is determined, reflective, and courageous in his vivid, vernacular descriptions of moral dilemmas, treacherous trails, and exhaustion. Based on historical facts and footnotes, this fictional account offers an appealing, energetic, and provocative look at racial issues across America, the remarkable but short-lived scheme of Pony Express service, the fortitude of its riders, and the courage of one boy who stands up for family, himself, and his beliefs.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780689871375 His biracial heritage is among the obstacles twelve-year-old Colton faces as he and his family travel west in 1860. When his family fails to reach California before winter, Colton joins the Pony Express to pay his mother's medical bills; to do this, he must ""pass"" as white amid growing racial and political turmoil. A fast pace brings this slice of history to life. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. On the eve of the Civil War, Colton Wescott is "a boy with a foot in each of two worlds—the black and the white, the slave and the free, the East and the West." On his way west by wagon train, Colton is shot by his father who disappears, and the family eventually stalls before making it to California. But Colton sees a poster advertising for Pony Express riders and sees a chance to become a man in his father's place. He'll relay freedom papers from his mother to her sister in Sacramento and carry an important message from Washington about a plot to blow up forts and steal ammunition in an attempt to support the South in the coming war. Driving the historic Pony Express route, visiting museums and bookstores and reading journals, letters and obituaries, Wilson has done the research to make the story alive and immediate. An exciting story written with style. (map, author's note) (Fiction. 10-14) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
...More
2005 (Western Novel)
Buy the Chief a Cadillac
Book Jacket   Rick Steber
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780786716395 In 1954, the U.S. government, under the Indian Termination Act, "incorporated" a great deal of Indian land on the Pacific coast and revoked the status of a number of tribes. Compensation came in 1961, in the form of $43,000 payments per tribe member. Spur Award-winner Steber focuses, in his 27th novel, on how three Klamath brothers react to the loss and the money as they prepare to receive the latter. Rollin, called Chief, is the eldest brother; he's a violent alcoholic who puts the money straight into the bottle. Creek is a vulnerable college student who covets a red Corvette and can see little beyond that. Half-brother Pokey, who is half-white, doesn't want the money at all. As termination day nears, the liquor flows, and the local deputy sheriff gets nervous, especially after he discovers a hit list nailed to a bridge. The few whites who live on the reservation (including a vengeful storekeeper, a brutally opportunistic tavern owner and a redneck cattle rancher whose visiting daughter is writing a college paper about termination) don't help matters. There's no happy ending, just Steber's powerful, depressing portrayal of government duplicity and reservation poverty, alcoholism, anger and despair. (Jan. 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780786716395 This book, whose self-published edition has already won the 2005 Spur Award for Best Western Novel, isn't so much a novel as a re-creation of the days surrounding the most momentous event in the history of the Pacific Northwest's Klamath Indian tribe-the U.S. government's purchase of the Klamath reservation and termination of its people's tribal status in 1961. Steber's (No End in Sight) short character portraits lend insight into the hopeless, alcohol-drenched lives of many Klamath adults, and his back stories shed light on the realities of reservation life. Key characters include the three Pitsua brothers, Chief, Pokey, and Creek; at the narrative's focal point we see Chief almost kill one of his brothers in a drunken rage, then turn the gun on himself. Steber brutally depicts what white civilization has done to native American people while offering some hope in the character of Pokey, who simply refuses to sell out. Recommended for regional collections about the West and larger fiction collections.-Ken St. Andre, Phoenix P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
 
2005 (Novel of the West)
People of the Raven
 Michael Gear
  Book Jacket
2005 (Young Readers)
Fire in the Hole
 Mary Cronk Farrell
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780618446346 Gr. 5-8. Bookish Mick O'Shea dreams of college and a career in journalism; he has no desire to follow Da into the mines in turn-of-the-century Idaho. Then Da is imprisoned for his union activities; Mam dies in childbirth; and the rent collector demands full payment, forcing Mick to swallow his pride and sign on as scab labor mining silver. Based on actual events, Farrell's first novel fairly brims with details and mining history. Although the O'Sheas seem to suffer every tragedy short of potato famine, and the stereotype of the short-tempered, abusive Irish male is a bit overdrawn, Farrell's characters and their motivations ring true, and the ending leaves hope that things will improve not only for Mick but for everyone. A good choice for historical fiction buffs and readers studying the mining industry and labor unions. --Kay Weisman Copyright 2004 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618446346 Gr 4-8-An adventure based on an incident that took place in Idaho in 1899. Mick is adamant that he won't work in the mines like his father. At first, he simply tries to keep his chances going for further education, but then the friction between the workers and the mine owners becomes more urgent and the escalating violence in the community leaves Mick more and more critical to the survival of his family. Characters seem somewhat stock at first with the domineering dad; the loving but ineffectual mother; the evil foreman; and the kindly newspaper editor. The realities of the labor dispute include the power of the government support of the mine owner juxtaposed with the cocky stridence of the workers and their mistakes along the way. Not quite up to the standard of Kristine L. Franklin's Grape Thief (Candlewick, 2003) in terms of historical richness and character detail, this novel is still a gripping tale of survival that uses its historical background to add depth and drama.-Carol A. Edwards, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618446346 In 1899, Mick doesn't plan on being a silver miner like his father, but he gets caught up, against his will, in the violent standoff between his father's union and Idaho's Bunker Hill and Sullivan Mining Company. Despite mostly stock characters, the gritty saga, inspired by real events, compels readers to care about Mick and the other unjustly imprisoned union members and sympathizers. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2004 (Western Novel)
I Should Be Extremely Happy In Your Company
Book Jacket   Brian Hall
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780670031894 Though it joins a crowded field of Lewis and Clark narratives, this formidable third novel by Hall (The Saskiad) is not to be dismissed. Narrated in multiple distinct voices, this retelling of the story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's legendary expedition is less a historical blow-by-blow than an engaging character study of the two men. Hall focuses on a few significant episodes in the journey-such as the hunting accident that wounds Lewis and causes him to sink into his famous depression-as seen through the eyes of Lewis, Sacagawea, Clark and Toussaint Charbonneau, Sacagawea's French fur trader husband. The result is a memorable portrait of the expedition leaders. Lewis is melancholy but ambitious and erudite, worried that he doesn't have the literary skill to render their adventures and discoveries. The sunnier Clark has the sensibility of an artist and the courage of a soldier, but he lacks the fortitude and discipline to build on his advantages. Hall is especially interested in the encounters between Native Americans and white explorers, and he details the violent struggles with Blackfeet Indians and others. Some readers may become frustrated with Sacagawea's stream-of-consciousness narration, in which proper nouns are not capitalized ("she remembered the raids in her own time, the one near beaver's head on blue crow's camp by the blackshoes when two bears' older brother (this one's bigfather), wolf tooth, was killed along with his son, chalk"), but the lyrical and precise prose will reward those who stick with it. In any case, such distractions are minor when measured against the rest of Hall's vivid, enthralling tableau. (Jan.) Forecast: Hall's book will be competing with a spate of others commemorating the 200th anniversary of the expedition, but a 12-city author tour should help this stand-out find an audience. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780670031894 Hall starred in the Time cover story on Lewis and Clark, whose famed expedition celebrates its bicentennial in January. Here, the author of The Saskiad uses intimate portraiture to reconstruct the journey. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780670031894 Travel writer and novelist Hall (The Saskiad, 1997, etc.) expertly deploys his combined skills in a long look at the long travels of Lewis and Clark. Carefully offloading two centuries of cultural baggage, including the great weights of Thomas Jefferson and Sacajawea, Hall brings the young republic's great explorers and their co-travelers to unsettled life. Greatest attention goes to Jefferson's prickly young secretary Meriwether Lewis. Plagued by depression and by his self-centered, frequently widowed mother, Lewis would be no one's choice today to lead a vital national mission. The better-balanced, more cheerful William Clark, soldier brother to a revolutionary hero, would seem to have had the righter stuff. But it was Virginia-born Lewis who was at the president's elbow when Jefferson shelled out for a quarter of a continent. And Lewis was not your usual clerk. Fiercely intelligent, he had absorbed as much as possible from an abbreviated education, and he had exercised his abilities like a soldier. Clark was, indeed, Lewis's old army buddy, and it was that friendship that brought the frontier Louisvillian to his great adventure and national fame. Unraveling his narrative from varied viewpoints-those of the two young explorers, the teenaged Shoshone woman who accompanied them, her aging French Canadian husband/owner, and, ultimately, Clark's long-suffering slave, York-Hall draws on reams of historic documents and makes wonderfully real both the rackety, rash quality of the president's personal project and the unsettled inner lives of the explorers. Dragging a presidentially designed folding iron, swapping cheap trinkets with constantly changing Indian tribes, eating dogs, navigating by the heavens, the casual directions of the natives, and their own best guesses, journalizing in their different styles, the two captains do what should have been impossible: winning national fame and national jobs. Clark's natural buoyancy supports him to the end; Lewis's personal demons drag him to an early death. Hall takes the greatest risks with Sacajawea, realizing her thoughts in dense passages that, even so, when carefully followed, make the neolithic Shoshone world palpable. Not easy, but a serious, ambitious, complex and greatly worthwhile book. Just like the trip.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780670031894 Hall, the author of two previous novels and three works of nonfiction, has delivered a gorgeous historical novel about achievement and angst. Nearly 200 years have passed since Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off on their expedition to the furthest reaches of the continent, and much ink has been spilled in the name of lionizing these two very different men. Hall's approach is different; while he clearly believes Lewis and Clark--as well as their Shoshone Indian guide Sacagawea--are important historical figures, he also views each as a complex and fascinating individual. Hall presents Lewis, the novel's main character, as a man prone to epic emotional highs and lows of equal magnitude. His journey with Clark was the accomplishment of a lifetime, and Lewis' attempts to deal with the journey's punishing realities are sharply drawn. From its beautifully written prologue to its understated conclusion, Hall's novel is big-hearted and satisfying. Not unlike Cormac McCarthy in his evocative descriptions of the landscape of a young nation, Hall is a versatile writer, and this is a wonderful book. --Kevin Canfield
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780670031894 At first glance, one might question the need for yet another book about intrepid American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. But as one delves into this book, one realizes that it is less about the adventure and more about the psychic forces that drove the participants to undertake the journey and eventually led to Lewis's untimely death. Hall (The Saskiad) has taken the record as he found it and filled in the gaps, imagining character traits and unrecorded incidents that would seem to provide plausible explanations for some puzzling historical questions. The story is told through four narrative voices-Lewis's, Clark's, Sacajawea's, and that of her fur-trading husband, Toussaint Charbonneau. In each case, Hall tries to capture their unique language and vision and create a real feel for the cultural collision that was occurring. Thus, spellings, grammar, and punctuation vary and names frequently change-reflecting the Native American tendency toward ad hoc descriptives. The result is a compelling if sometimes difficult-to-follow tale that can be well recommended to all fans of serious historical fiction. It is particularly suitable for public libraries, though as a word of caution, it should be pointed out that these Native Americans are not bashful about using graphic terminology to describe natural functions. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/02; the Lewis and Clark expedition celebrates its bicentennial this year.-Ed.]-David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
2004 (Novel of the West)
So Wild A Dream
Book Jacket   Win Blevins
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780765305732 Life in rural Pennsylvania in the 1820s doesn't hold much appeal for young, adventurous, ambitious Sam Morgan. He decides to make his life--and maybe his fortune--on the frontier, but his first step is to get there. He secures a job as a hand on a riverboat, and the adventure begins. His crewmates are the usual assortment of rascals, rapscallions, and borderline crooks, among them a half-breed Delaware Indian, a scam artist, a wily riverboat captain, and a former prostitute who may be more dangerous than any of her companions. In their travels up and down the rivers, the crew experience a multitude of adventures, including a bloody confrontation with two brothers who had been bounced from the crew. Sam provides muscle on the boat, and his marksmanship keeps the crew supplied with fresh game when they anchor at nightfall. Author Blevins, an expert on early American fur trade, introduces his Rendezvous series with this entertaining, vivid portrait of frontier America as seen through the eyes of an impressionable youth. --Wes Lukowsky Copyright 2003 Booklist
...More
 
2004 (Young Readers)
In The Eye of the Storm: The Adventures of Young Buffalo Bill
 Cody Kimmel
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780060291167 Gr. 3^-7. This third installment in the Adventures of Young Buffalo Bill series finds nine-year-old Bill trying to run the family homestead without his father, who was stabbed by anti-abolitionists and forced into hiding. Bill works hard, but he can't help resenting the responsibilities that face him and wondering if he will ever have fun again. A perceptive young teacher helps him realize the importance of asking for help. Kimmel based this on autobiographies by the real Cody and Cody's sister, Julia, and she makes every effort to stay true to actual events and to explain where fact and fiction diverge. Her use of daydream segments is particularly effective, offering readers perspective on Bill's fears as well as a foreshadowing of the adult he will become. The boy emerges as a likeable protagonist, filled with a particular spark even as he struggles with hardships that might easily beat down competent adults. This can stand alone, but readers will, no doubt, request other titles in the series. --Kay Weisman
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780060291167 Now settled in the Kansas Territory, the Cody family meets with harassment and violence due to their abolitionist beliefs. After Pa+s death, Bill joins a wagon train as an assistant and encounters Wild Bill Hickok. Each book's afterword explains which of the colorfully portrayed episodes in these old-fashioned western stories are based on fact. Occasional pencil sketches illustrate the books. [Review covers these Adventures of Young Buffalo Bill titles: In the Eye of the Storm, One Sky above Us, and West on the Wagon Train.] (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780060291167 Gr 3-7-When the Codys arrived in Kansas Territory in 1854, they settled in a land violently divided over slavery. Storm, the third title in the series, chronicles the family's struggles, focusing on young Bill, and an intriguing glimpse into history emerges. His father, Isaac, stabbed by a pro-slavery man, and in a weakened condition, is forced to hide, leaving his wife and children alone on their Kansas claim. Nine-year-old Bill must assume a huge workload, and he faces more than his share of dangers from the border ruffians. In one tense scene, Bill helps foil the murderous intentions of a mob of ruffians circling his cabin. The prose is generously seasoned with easy dialogue, and employs occasional dream scenes that enrich readers' understanding of Bill's character. The plot develops at a good pace and has excitement enough to lure reluctant readers. The afterword grounds the story in history, establishing, for example, that Isaac Cody shed the first blood in Kansas, and confirming the historical existence of several of the characters in the story. This book, along with the others in the series, has the potential to draw an appreciative audience of frontier-adventure-loving children, particularly those who are attracted to Gary Paulsen's "Mr. Tucket" books (Delacorte).-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
2003 (Western Novel)
The Chili Queen
 Sandra Dallas
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312303495 The author tweaks the Western genre with her newest historical novel. Retired shortchange-artist-turned-madam Addie French meets Emma Roby, a meek and ladylike mail-order bride on the train to Nalgitas, New Mexico. Deserted at the train station by her groom, Emma makes her way to the Chili Queen, Addie's "boarding house." There Emma meets Welcome, the mysterious cook, and Ned Partner, an amiable and talented bank robber. At Addie's suggestion, Ned agrees to rob a local bank to avenge an insult made to Addie and takes Emma for his partner. The robbery ends with unexpected results, and the trio hatches another scheme to fleece Emma's brother out of his inheritance. The payoff from this last swindle will allow Addie to open a restaurant, Ned to buy a ranch, and Emma to live independently. Dallas fleshes out the kind of background characters found in a L'Amour or Grey novel with affection and zest. Sure to garner new fans and satisfy existing ones, this novel is recommended for all public library collections. Kaite Mediatore
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780312303495 Varmints and vixens . . . way out west, circa the 1880s. Addie French was famous for making the best chili in New Mexico before she moved to dusty little Nalgitas and opened a bordello called the Chili Queen. Keeping all those cowboys and miners happy with only three or four whores ain't easy, and she even takes on a few customers herself now and then. Her only help is a powerfully built black woman who goes by the odd name of "Welcome," since no one else wants to cook and clean for temperamental prostitutes. But Addie makes enough money to get by and takes her own pleasure with Ned, who's hiding out at the Chili Queen after several lucrative bank robberies. Addie takes in homely mail-order bride Emma, who was abandoned by Addie's priggish brother John and left at the depot by the man who was supposed to claim her. She treats Emma as an honored guest, thinking of making her a milliner, since she sews a fine seam. She's nonplussed, however, when Ned takes a shine to the lonely woman. The three cook up a land-buying scheme to fleece Emma's brother, but John insists on two conditions: he'll return to see the land for himself, and he'll put up only half the purchase price. By now Ned is in love with Emma, who has a magical way of looking pretty when she wants to. He plans another robbery to come up with the other half and swindle John-not realizing he's already being taken by a pair of bunco artists. Once the double-crossing begins, it doesn't stop, but even Addie doesn't realize that Welcome is in on the scam as well. Interwoven are the tragic stories of Emma, John, Welcome, and Ned-providing a look at the darker history of the Old West. Dallas's sixth (after Alice's Tulips, 2000, etc.) is as satisfying as a John Ford movie, with just the right touches of humor and period detail.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312303495 A whorehouse madam, a bank robber, a mail-order bride and a former slave romp around 1860s New Mexico in this fifth novel from the author of The Persian Pickle Club. As she has before, Dallas weaves a beguiling plot and creates engaging characters and dialogue. The first part of the book is narrated by Addie French, a madam at the Chili Queen whorehouse, whose language is salted with colorful metaphors. "Some men liked scrawny women," she explains, "just as some men picked chicken wings over drumsticks." In the second section, the central figure is Ned Partner, a hunky bank robber and would-be rancher whose emotional innocence contrasts with his smooth ways in the bedroom and behind a gun. Next, there is Emma Roby, a mail-order bride with a secret past who is temporarily boarding at the Chili Queen, and finally Welcome, a former slave turned whorehouse cook. Because Emma and Welcome are not as well drawn, the closing chapters lose momentum; they are also glutted with backstory. When Dallas tries to cover subjects like sexual abuse and other types of violence, her light tone can't support the heavier themes. Still, the zesty, offbeat charm of life among these undesirables in the seedy West keeps this tale moving smartly. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book club alternate; 5-city author tour. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2003 (Novel of the West)
Perma Red
Book Jacket   Debra Magpie Earling
Choice Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. 9780399148996 A Native American, Earling (English, Univ. of Montana) has written a remarkable first novel that rivals N. Scott Momaday's House Made of Dawn, Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony, and Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine. Set in the 1940s on the Flathead Indian Reservation, the story of the beautiful and reckless Louise White Elk, loved by three men who vie brutally with her and with each other for her control, is developed in snatches of third-person narration. Louise's story is picked up in alternate chapters by a first-person narrator, Charlie Kicking Woman, who, as a police officer, is himself situated precariously between the worlds of the reservation and the white man, between his marriage to Aida and his obsession with Louise, between law and lawlessness, between hero and murderer. All categories are questioned and relentlessly examined in this novel, but the result is not so much an exploration of postmodern liminality as it is an evocation of unsettling poetry, both smashingly physical and intensely spiritual. All collections of contemporary American literature. J. P. Baumgaertner Wheaton College (IL)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399148996 In this beautiful first novel, set on the Flathead Reservation of Montana in the 1940s, Earling traces the youth and young adulthood of Louise White Elk and the men who try to win her heart and soul. A red-headed, mixed-blood temptress, Louise always has a man or two, none of whom is any good for her. Throughout, a third-person narrative alternates with a first-person account by Charlie Kicking Woman, the police officer who tracked down Louise when she ran away repeatedly as a child but whose interest in the woman is less than professional. Louise is also entangled with Baptiste Yellow Knife, who adheres to the old ways and resists all contact with whites and authorities. The abject poverty is keenly felt, as is the pride that allows one to prevail and the resignation that keeps one from aspiring to more. This novel will stand proudly among its peers in Native American literature and should have strong appeal to fans of Louise Erdrich. Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. «When Louise White Elk was nine, Baptiste Yellow Knife blew a fine powder in her face and told her she would disappear.» So begins a love story of uncommon depth and power, a love story that is as painful as it is transcendent, a love story in which the lovers, like Birkin and Ursula in Lawrence's Women in Love, are unwilling to diminish themselves in the act of joining together but are equally unable to turn away. Set in the years following World War II on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, Earling's superb first novel throws two indomitable characters together in a tightly circumscribed world and gives them free rein to bang into the furniture and each other. A fiery mix of tantalizing contradictions, Louise is a red-haired temptress who yearns to escape the reservation and to experience every kind of freedom on the menu, but she can't avoid her magnetic attraction to Yellow Knife, whose devotion to the old ways and whose shaman-like intensity threaten to shackle Louise even as they offer their own kind of liberation. As they spar with each other--and with Charlie Kicking Woman, a tribal police officer also under Louise's spell--the lovers face both threats and temptations from the white world outside the reservation. Coming-of-age novels set on reservations are a rich part of contemporary literature, of course, and Earling's effort fits securely into the tradition of Welch, Erdrich, and others, but it stands on its own just fine. The Lawrentian psychodrama that emerges from the Louise-Baptiste relationship gives the novel a richness that transcends the story's time and place but that, simultaneously, brings the larger theme of cultural clash into even sharper focus. Let's hope we hear much more from Earling, who is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Bill Ott.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399148996 Earling follows the literary trail blazed by Louise erdrich in her poignant if familiar debut novel, which explores life in the tiny town of Perma, Mont., through the adventures of the restless Louise White elk as she struggles with a problematic passion for irresistible bad boy Baptiste Yellow Knife. The tempestuous duo's love-hate relationship is complicated by Charlie Kicking Woman, the local police officer who admires Louise from afar even as she breaks up his marriage. The other romantic subplots are less captivating - Louise's affair with the reservation's white real estate mogul, Harvey Stoner, is contrived and stilted, and Baptiste's attempts to arouse Louise's jealousy are even more forgettable. Narrated alternately by Louise, Baptiste and Charlie, the plot veers between hallucinatory, poetic descriptions of reservation life and tumultuous romantic encounters as Louise and Baptiste conduct their erotic duel, until the passions finally give way to murder. When Harvey decides to attack Baptiste, Louise and Charlie are left to make their own pivotal choices. earling offers first-rate characterizations, and she does an equally fine job portraying tribal life in the Flatland Nation. The predictable and disorganized plot makes this book less memorable than it might have been, but there's little doubt that earling has considerable potential. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
...More
2003 (Young Readers)
The Big Burn
Book Jacket   Jeanette Ingold
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780152164706 Ingold (Pictures, 1918) captures the momentum of a wildfire in this historical novel about "the big burn" that scorched millions of acres across Idaho and Montana in 1910. Against the atmospheric backdrop of beauty and devastation, each of three teens bravely battles the fire. As a member of the all-black infantry sent to help, Seth conquers his own insecurities; Jarrett, younger brother of a forest ranger, chooses to combat the blaze with the rough-and-tumble, ill-equipped hired crews; while Lizbeth and her guardian cousin reluctantly abandon their homestead, only to face the danger in town. Ingold intersperses the intersecting stories of the teenagers with "field notes" recorded by a ranger and a university professor; these slow the pace but offer illuminating background, including the contrast between the Indian tradition of setting controlled fires annually versus the government's belief that "the only safe way to control fire was to not let it burn in the first place." The narrative flags a bit a romance between Jarrett and Lizabeth never becomes as compelling as their individual struggles but on balance, the triumphs and casualties recounted here will heighten appreciation for the courage and sacrifice of firefighters and settlers; the book may be especially timely in light of this summer's runaway fires in the West. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780152164706 Born of sparks from trains, the working fires of homesteaders and miners, the campfires of hoboes, and lightning coursing down from the summer sky, the fires joined as a wall of flame, an "orange hell" that consumed two-and-a-half-million acres of public forest land by the time it was done. It was called the Big Burn, and "August 20, 1910, would be remembered as the day the mountains roared." Ingold (Airfield, 1999, etc.) develops the stories of three teens involved in and affected by the drama of the raging fires. Their narratives are leisurely developed, and it is almost two-thirds of the way into the long novel before the pace of their stories escalates to parallel the rise of the fire itself. Jarrett, the brother of the forest ranger, Lizbeth, the homesteader determined to keep her land, and Seth, the enlisted man in the all-black Twenty-fifth Infantry hoping to find and prove his courage, are the three characters whose lives intertwine in the face of a natural disaster. When the fires finally join and the story picks up its pace, an exciting tale ensues. The air turns orange, the gale-force winds rage, trees tumble through the air like sticks, and the roar of the fire bounces off of the canyon walls as the fire sweeps through Idaho and into Montana. Readers with a taste for sprawling tales will find their efforts rewarded. An afterword by the author and suggestions for further reading will inform readers more about this spectacular but little-known event in American history. (Fiction. 12-15)
Horn Book (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780152164706 The paths of three teenagers--young ranger Jarrett, homesteader Lizbeth, and African-American soldier Seth--intersect as a wildfire blazes across the western United States in the summer of 1910. This historical novel presents a vivid picture of a natural disaster while skillfully conveying in fluid prose the individual stories of the three young people and the romance between Jarrett and Lizbeth. Bib. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780152049249 "Against the backdrop of beauty and devastation, each of three teens battles the momentum of a wildfire, `the big burn,' that scorched millions of acres across Idaho and Montana in 1910," wrote PW. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780152164706 Gr 7 Up-This exciting survival/adventure story is told ensemble-style. Bumbling Private Seth Brown of the all-black 25th infantry wonders if the Army will be as good to him as it was to his father. Lizbeth, 16, wants to stay on the homestead claimed by her 26-year-old aunt Celia, but Celia can't wait to return East. Jarrett Logan, 16, tossed out on his own by his gruff and demanding father, finds that being reunited with his older brother, a forest ranger, isn't much smoother. These threads become plausibly entwined as each short chapter gradually builds toward the climactic "perfect storm" of forest fires that raged in Idaho and surrounding states during the summer of 1910 and is known as the Big Burn. The author's frequent foreshadowing seems heavy-handed. Periodic "Field Notes" give authorial voice to background material that, while relevant, is clearly shown in the plot. Stereotyping the bad guy as having a scar and a crossed eye seems unnecessary. Excellent period vocabulary may send some readers to the dictionary. The round-robin plot construction keeps the pace moving effectively through the climactic scenes and the mostly predictable, satisfying resolutions that follow. An afterword notes that evidence of this fire remains visible today. The "Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading" section is excellent, subdivided by subject and including books, newspapers, and Internet resources.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780152164706 Ingold (Pictures, 1918) captures the momentum of a wildfire in this historical novel about "the big burn" that scorched millions of acres across Idaho and Montana in 1910. Against the atmospheric backdrop of beauty and devastation, each of three teens bravely battles the fire. As a member of the all-black infantry sent to help, Seth conquers his own insecurities; Jarrett, younger brother of a forest ranger, chooses to combat the blaze with the rough-and-tumble, ill-equipped hired crews; while Lizbeth and her guardian cousin reluctantly abandon their homestead, only to face the danger in town. Ingold intersperses the intersecting stories of the teenagers with "field notes" recorded by a ranger and a university professor; these slow the pace but offer illuminating background, including the contrast between the Indian tradition of setting controlled fires annually versus the government's belief that "the only safe way to control fire was to not let it burn in the first place." The narrative flags a bit a romance between Jarrett and Lizabeth never becomes as compelling as their individual struggles but on balance, the triumphs and casualties recounted here will heighten appreciation for the courage and sacrifice of firefighters and settlers; the book may be especially timely in light of this summer's runaway fires in the West. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. Gr. 6-9. According to the afterword, the fire that engulfed the Northwest in 1910 is still known as the Big Burn. This historical novel, set in northern Idaho, introduces several characters whose lives intersect at various points as the mountains burn. Seth Brown is an African American private in the Twenty-fifth Infantry, sent in from Washington State to help fight fires. Sixteen-year-old Jarrett Logan, just laid off from working on the railroad, leaves home to join the Forest Service and finds not only a job but his estranged older brother, Samuel, an experienced ranger. Celia and her Aunt Lizbeth struggle to make a go of their timberland homestead. Ingold's shifting between sets of characters broadens the scope of the novel but sometimes slows down the action. Still, the momentum gradually builds, and tension heightens as the characters' realizations about a major fire slowly change from a dreaded possibility to a real threat to an unavoidable horror. A solid adventure story with a well-realized setting. Carolyn Phelan.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780152164706 Born of sparks from trains, the working fires of homesteaders and miners, the campfires of hoboes, and lightning coursing down from the summer sky, the fires joined as a wall of flame, an "orange hell" that consumed two-and-a-half-million acres of public forest land by the time it was done. It was called the Big Burn, and "August 20, 1910, would be remembered as the day the mountains roared." Ingold (Airfield, 1999, etc.) develops the stories of three teens involved in and affected by the drama of the raging fires. Their narratives are leisurely developed, and it is almost two-thirds of the way into the long novel before the pace of their stories escalates to parallel the rise of the fire itself. Jarrett, the brother of the forest ranger, Lizbeth, the homesteader determined to keep her land, and Seth, the enlisted man in the all-black Twenty-fifth Infantry hoping to find and prove his courage, are the three characters whose lives intertwine in the face of a natural disaster. When the fires finally join and the story picks up its pace, an exciting tale ensues. The air turns orange, the gale-force winds rage, trees tumble through the air like sticks, and the roar of the fire bounces off of the canyon walls as the fire sweeps through Idaho and into Montana. Readers with a taste for sprawling tales will find their efforts rewarded. An afterword by the author and suggestions for further reading will inform readers more about this spectacular but little-known event in American history. (Fiction. 12-15)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780152164706 The paths of three teenagers--young ranger Jarrett, homesteader Lizbeth, and African-American soldier Seth--intersect as a wildfire blazes across the western United States in the summer of 1910. This historical novel presents a vivid picture of a natural disaster while skillfully conveying in fluid prose the individual stories of the three young people and the romance between Jarrett and Lizbeth. Bib. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780152049249 "Against the backdrop of beauty and devastation, each of three teens battles the momentum of a wildfire, `the big burn,' that scorched millions of acres across Idaho and Montana in 1910," wrote PW. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780152164706 Gr 7 Up-This exciting survival/adventure story is told ensemble-style. Bumbling Private Seth Brown of the all-black 25th infantry wonders if the Army will be as good to him as it was to his father. Lizbeth, 16, wants to stay on the homestead claimed by her 26-year-old aunt Celia, but Celia can't wait to return East. Jarrett Logan, 16, tossed out on his own by his gruff and demanding father, finds that being reunited with his older brother, a forest ranger, isn't much smoother. These threads become plausibly entwined as each short chapter gradually builds toward the climactic "perfect storm" of forest fires that raged in Idaho and surrounding states during the summer of 1910 and is known as the Big Burn. The author's frequent foreshadowing seems heavy-handed. Periodic "Field Notes" give authorial voice to background material that, while relevant, is clearly shown in the plot. Stereotyping the bad guy as having a scar and a crossed eye seems unnecessary. Excellent period vocabulary may send some readers to the dictionary. The round-robin plot construction keeps the pace moving effectively through the climactic scenes and the mostly predictable, satisfying resolutions that follow. An afterword notes that evidence of this fire remains visible today. The "Sources and Suggestions for Further Reading" section is excellent, subdivided by subject and including books, newspapers, and Internet resources.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
 
2002 (Best Western)
The Way of the Coyote
 Elmer Kelton
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780312873189 With 40 novels in his gunbelt, Kelton has been named "The Greatest Western Writer of All Time" by the Western Writers of America. In this outing, Rusty Shannon returns in the third installment in his Texas Rangers series (The Bucksin Line, 1999; Badger Boy, 2001). When the federal government moves into Texas and takes over, following the Civil War, Shannon falls into a briar patch of Kelton plotting that includes raids by the Ku Klux Klan, the loss of his homestead to killers from his past, playing big brother to almost-grown Badger Boy Andy Pickard, saving ranchers from marauding Indians (in his youth, the Commanches killed his original family, his foster father, and held him captive, and Andy himself has only recently escaped being a captive of that tribe). Rusty tries to settle back into his old life as a farmer-but it's not to be. What's more, he's suffering from an arrow wound in his leg. Meanwhile, he joins some lawmen chasing Indians, clansmen, and whiskey runners. As the dust settles, will bad Clyde Oldham sign Rusty's farm back to him? May Kelton's rangers ride on many a long mile.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312873189 As gratifying as a McMurtry side plot and with more gritty excitement than just about any Hollywood cowboy flick, this outing highlights the post-Civil War limbo suffered by the Texas Rangers. Andy Pickard, a 10-year-old half-wild captive of the Comanches, is forced from the tribe for killing a bully and is rescued by former Texas Ranger Rusty Shannon, who "adopts" Andy when his only relative refuses to take him in. The Rangers, formed before the Civil War, were exempt from service; they were scorned by the men who chose the Confederate cause and distrusted by the corrupt carpetbag Union government that disbanded them. Working hard, and with the help of a small network of friends, Rusty has made a go of his hardscrabble ranch in an area ravaged by carpetbagger greed, corrupt Unionist state police, war-born malice and poverty, and fierce, frequent Indian raids. Rusty's unstable life with Andy teeters on the brink of collapse when his old nemeses, the Oldham Brothers, local thugs in league with a corrupt judge, steal his ranch and burn out a freed slave, Shanty, a friend under Rusty and Andy's protection. Events reach dynamite levels when the Comanches kidnap the son of Rusty's old love, and teenage Andy must try for a rescue when Rusty is wounded and out of action. Kelton covers a wide swath of history with aplomb, illuminating a little-known period in Western history. California is still Mexican, Indians are a real threat and outlaws rule the land in this rough-riding adventure tale. Author tour. (Dec.) Forecast: After 37 novels, Kelton's third entry (after Badger Boy) in the Texas Rangers series could cross genre lines and expand his already substantial fan base. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312873189 Texas is reeling from the aftershocks of the Civil War. The state is run by a corrupt, usurious carpetbag government. Loyalties are suspect as veterans of both sides eye each other suspiciously, and the occasional Comanche war party wreaks havoc on the ranchers. Rusty Shannon, who was kidnapped by the Comanche as a child, rescues 10-year-old Andy Pinkard from the same fate. Andy's memories are all Comanche, and he struggles to adjust to the white life. Meanwhile, the young son of a woman Rusty once loved is kidnapped by the Comanche, and two rivals from Rusty's Texas Ranger days arrive as representatives from the corrupt state government and twist the law to confiscate Rusty's ranch. Kelton, who's been producing award-winning novels for 40 years, continues his tradition of compassionate, character-driven, historically correct fiction. In this probing examination of conflicted loyalties, the heroes are those who recognize the conflicts and struggle to minimize them, and the villains are those who exacerbate tensions in an effort to benefit personally. No one does it better than Kelton; his latest is a must for any western collection. --Wes Lukowsky
...More
  Book Jacket
2002 (Novel of the West)
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint
 Brady Udall
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780393020366 A picaresque, coming-of-ager by Udall (stories: Letting Loose the Hounds, 1997) invokes nearly every archetype of the genre while still managing to be fresh and vigorous, and unveiling a rarely seen slice of American life in the process. Edgar?s Apache mother had her first drink the day she gave birth to him, on an Arizona reservation, and was never again sober. And his white father split seven months before. So life?s looking pretty bleak until the now-seven-year-old gets his head run over by the mailman?s jeep, surviving the first in a series of miracles. When he wakes up three months later, he?s not just gaining consciousness?little Edgar is being born into a whole new life. St. Divine?s Hospital, with its infrequent attention and even more infrequent love, provides Edgar with a family that?s a huge improvement over his biological one. With echoes of Dickens, Edgar meets the stock characters who will reappear throughout his life. It can take a bit to get accustomed to the unique, alternating voices?an intimate, poignant, humorous first-person and a well-paced third?but, ultimately, it?s wonderfully successful. From the hospital, Edgar is shipped to the William Tecumseh Sherman School, a Native American reformatory sure to rival any fictional institution for cruelty and deprivation. Despite this, though, the boy never quite loses the comic edge that lends his story its buoyancy. Edgar eventually manages to get placed with a Mormon family?on loan from some John Irving tale?complete with a genius stepbrother, a sexy stepsister, and an adulterous stepmom. Somewhere along the way he?s decided that his life mission is to find that mailman in the jeep who was the prime mover behind all this: he wants to let the guy know he?s just fine. This quest, which sends the teenaged Edgar from Utah across the country, leads to a close as unexpected as it is heartbreaking. A remarkably assured debut novel that brings to life a unique world, tells its story with skill, and remains enthralling throughout. A bit of a miracle in its own right.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780393020366 The opening sentence sets the tone for this gripping novel--Edgar Mint says, "If I could tell you only one thing about my life, it would be this: when I was seven years old, the mailman ran over my head." It was an accident, and much of what happens to this half-Apache, mostly orphan kid is a similar combination of accident, cruelty, and kindness. Edgar spends a lot of time in the hospital, but his smashed head is miraculously fixed. He's really bright, except he can't write. A hospital pal gives him a typewriter, and Edgar pounds his way to self-expression. He is then horribly brutalized by bullies in a bad school for Indian kids, taken in by a quirky Mormon family, and harassed by the doctor cum drug dealer who initially saved his life. Somehow Edgar just keeps pounding the typewriter. He also keeps looking for the mailman to let him know he's OK. Udall's tale is cruel, kind, and well worth reading. --Peggy Barber
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780393020366 Reminiscent of another debut Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest this powerful first novel by short story writer Udall (Letting Loose the Hounds) is constructed around grotesque set pieces; black humor drives the plot. Set in the late '60s, Udall's story begins when seven-year-old Edgar Mint, the half-Apache, half-white narrator, is run over by the mailman's car, his head crushed. Abandoned by his grandmother and alcoholic mother after his remarkable recovery, the boy begins an odyssey through various institutions and homes, starting with St. Divine's hospital in Globe, Ariz., where he recuperates, through Willie Sherman's, a horrific school for Indian children, ending up placed with a dysfunctional Mormon family in Richland, Utah. The novel's long middle section, describing Edgar's brutalization at the Indian school by the other kids, captures the effect of what seems like endless bullying on a child's consciousness. Against this hostility, Edgar concocts a homemade magic, which consists mainly of typing on a clunky Hermes typewriter given to him by a fellow St. Divine's patient, Art Crozier, a middle-aged man who has lost his family in a car wreck. One of Udall's best touches is to make the doctor who saved Edgar, Barry Pinkley, into a mysterious and menacing figure, perpetually lurking on the sidelines, rather like Clare Quilty in Lolita. While Pinkley strives maniacally to be Edgar's guardian angel, the boy views him with ambivalent loathing. When Pinkley, disguised as a Mormon missionary, seduces Lana Madsen, the wife in the Mormon family that takes Edgar in, he sets off the final catastrophe in the boy's life. Udall's style is reminiscent of the '60s black humorists, but he doesn't share their easy cruelty or inveterate superciliousness, making this not only an accomplished novel, but a wise one. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780393020366 "If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head." With these words, Udall (Letting Loose the Hounds: Stories) begins the story of the life of Edgar Mint. It's amazing that Edgar made it even to seven. Born to an alcoholic Navaho woman and a cowboy wannabe from Connecticut who fled when he learned of the pregnancy, Edgar is left pretty much to his own devices. After the accident, Edgar's mother doesn't stick around long enough to learn that a young doctor, Barry Pinkley, has brought her son back to life. When Edgar finally wakes up in a hospital room with three broken-down men, he devotes his life to filling pages with words. After a stint in an Indian boarding school, where the staff turns a blind eye as the students torture one another, and a later attempt at normalcy with his Mormon foster family, Edgar decides that his purpose in life is to track down the mailman and offer his forgiveness. An engaging, well-told story that will appeal to fans of Western fiction and the quirky picaresque. Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780393020366 Adult/High School-With Dickensian flair and mastery, Udall gives readers an underdog child protagonist, surrounds him with a cast of half-funny and half-tragic characters, and immerses them all in a plot full of staggering setbacks and occasional, hard-won moments of peace. When his head is crushed by a mail truck at age seven, Edgar is left for dead by his alcoholic, disinterested mother, who doesn't stick around to learn that he is later "brought back" by a shady doctor and whisked away to a hospital to recuperate. Some months and several delightfully cantankerous roommates later, Edgar regains all functions but the ability to write, which is more than solved when a fellow patient gets him a typewriter. Typing soothes the boy and becomes necessary therapy when he is released to an Indian school where other students punish him horrifically for being a "half-breed" (Apache and white). He is saved, literally and figuratively, by a pair of missionaries who recruit and place him with a Mormon family in a Utah suburb. Now that he feels relatively safe, the protagonist finds himself with a new purpose: to track down the devastated mailman who feels responsible for his death and let him know that he's alive and fine. Yet his sense of safety remains merely relative, as the disbarred doctor surfaces repeatedly in his life, full of menacing, disturbing love and determined to raise Edgar as his own son. This novel is a wonderful, wise debut, with a strong story told in language that teens will find easy to embrace.-Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780393020366 A picaresque, coming-of-ager by Udall (stories: Letting Loose the Hounds, 1997) invokes nearly every archetype of the genre while still managing to be fresh and vigorous, and unveiling a rarely seen slice of American life in the process. Edgar?s Apache mother had her first drink the day she gave birth to him, on an Arizona reservation, and was never again sober. And his white father split seven months before. So life?s looking pretty bleak until the now-seven-year-old gets his head run over by the mailman?s jeep, surviving the first in a series of miracles. When he wakes up three months later, he?s not just gaining consciousness?little Edgar is being born into a whole new life. St. Divine?s Hospital, with its infrequent attention and even more infrequent love, provides Edgar with a family that?s a huge improvement over his biological one. With echoes of Dickens, Edgar meets the stock characters who will reappear throughout his life. It can take a bit to get accustomed to the unique, alternating voices?an intimate, poignant, humorous first-person and a well-paced third?but, ultimately, it?s wonderfully successful. From the hospital, Edgar is shipped to the William Tecumseh Sherman School, a Native American reformatory sure to rival any fictional institution for cruelty and deprivation. Despite this, though, the boy never quite loses the comic edge that lends his story its buoyancy. Edgar eventually manages to get placed with a Mormon family?on loan from some John Irving tale?complete with a genius stepbrother, a sexy stepsister, and an adulterous stepmom. Somewhere along the way he?s decided that his life mission is to find that mailman in the jeep who was the prime mover behind all this: he wants to let the guy know he?s just fine. This quest, which sends the teenaged Edgar from Utah across the country, leads to a close as unexpected as it is heartbreaking. A remarkably assured debut novel that brings to life a unique world, tells its story with skill, and remains enthralling throughout. A bit of a miracle in its own right.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780393020366 The opening sentence sets the tone for this gripping novel--Edgar Mint says, "If I could tell you only one thing about my life, it would be this: when I was seven years old, the mailman ran over my head." It was an accident, and much of what happens to this half-Apache, mostly orphan kid is a similar combination of accident, cruelty, and kindness. Edgar spends a lot of time in the hospital, but his smashed head is miraculously fixed. He's really bright, except he can't write. A hospital pal gives him a typewriter, and Edgar pounds his way to self-expression. He is then horribly brutalized by bullies in a bad school for Indian kids, taken in by a quirky Mormon family, and harassed by the doctor cum drug dealer who initially saved his life. Somehow Edgar just keeps pounding the typewriter. He also keeps looking for the mailman to let him know he's OK. Udall's tale is cruel, kind, and well worth reading. --Peggy Barber
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780393020366 Reminiscent of another debut Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest this powerful first novel by short story writer Udall (Letting Loose the Hounds) is constructed around grotesque set pieces; black humor drives the plot. Set in the late '60s, Udall's story begins when seven-year-old Edgar Mint, the half-Apache, half-white narrator, is run over by the mailman's car, his head crushed. Abandoned by his grandmother and alcoholic mother after his remarkable recovery, the boy begins an odyssey through various institutions and homes, starting with St. Divine's hospital in Globe, Ariz., where he recuperates, through Willie Sherman's, a horrific school for Indian children, ending up placed with a dysfunctional Mormon family in Richland, Utah. The novel's long middle section, describing Edgar's brutalization at the Indian school by the other kids, captures the effect of what seems like endless bullying on a child's consciousness. Against this hostility, Edgar concocts a homemade magic, which consists mainly of typing on a clunky Hermes typewriter given to him by a fellow St. Divine's patient, Art Crozier, a middle-aged man who has lost his family in a car wreck. One of Udall's best touches is to make the doctor who saved Edgar, Barry Pinkley, into a mysterious and menacing figure, perpetually lurking on the sidelines, rather like Clare Quilty in Lolita. While Pinkley strives maniacally to be Edgar's guardian angel, the boy views him with ambivalent loathing. When Pinkley, disguised as a Mormon missionary, seduces Lana Madsen, the wife in the Mormon family that takes Edgar in, he sets off the final catastrophe in the boy's life. Udall's style is reminiscent of the '60s black humorists, but he doesn't share their easy cruelty or inveterate superciliousness, making this not only an accomplished novel, but a wise one. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780393020366 "If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head." With these words, Udall (Letting Loose the Hounds: Stories) begins the story of the life of Edgar Mint. It's amazing that Edgar made it even to seven. Born to an alcoholic Navaho woman and a cowboy wannabe from Connecticut who fled when he learned of the pregnancy, Edgar is left pretty much to his own devices. After the accident, Edgar's mother doesn't stick around long enough to learn that a young doctor, Barry Pinkley, has brought her son back to life. When Edgar finally wakes up in a hospital room with three broken-down men, he devotes his life to filling pages with words. After a stint in an Indian boarding school, where the staff turns a blind eye as the students torture one another, and a later attempt at normalcy with his Mormon foster family, Edgar decides that his purpose in life is to track down the mailman and offer his forgiveness. An engaging, well-told story that will appeal to fans of Western fiction and the quirky picaresque. Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati State Technical & Community Coll. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780393020366 Adult/High School-With Dickensian flair and mastery, Udall gives readers an underdog child protagonist, surrounds him with a cast of half-funny and half-tragic characters, and immerses them all in a plot full of staggering setbacks and occasional, hard-won moments of peace. When his head is crushed by a mail truck at age seven, Edgar is left for dead by his alcoholic, disinterested mother, who doesn't stick around to learn that he is later "brought back" by a shady doctor and whisked away to a hospital to recuperate. Some months and several delightfully cantankerous roommates later, Edgar regains all functions but the ability to write, which is more than solved when a fellow patient gets him a typewriter. Typing soothes the boy and becomes necessary therapy when he is released to an Indian school where other students punish him horrifically for being a "half-breed" (Apache and white). He is saved, literally and figuratively, by a pair of missionaries who recruit and place him with a Mormon family in a Utah suburb. Now that he feels relatively safe, the protagonist finds himself with a new purpose: to track down the devastated mailman who feels responsible for his death and let him know that he's alive and fine. Yet his sense of safety remains merely relative, as the disbarred doctor surfaces repeatedly in his life, full of menacing, disturbing love and determined to raise Edgar as his own son. This novel is a wonderful, wise debut, with a strong story told in language that teens will find easy to embrace.-Emily Lloyd, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2002 (Best Juvenile)
Rockbuster
Book Jacket   Gloria Skurzynski,
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780689839917 A mine worker like his relatives, ten-year-old Tommy soon discovers he has a natural gift for song writing. His talent leads to his involvement on a larger scale with the union leaders and an ultimate decision about where his loyalties lie. Although historically interesting, the book is laboriously written and Tommy?s feelings and pivotal events are related impersonally. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780689839917 Gr. 6-12. On a trip to watch the trial of union organizer Big Bill Haywood, 10-year-old Tommy accidentally blows his pro-union uncle's cover and witnesses Uncle Jim's being dragged away and killed. Six years later, when union songwriter Joe Hill, the "voice" of Industrial Workers of the World, is unfairly convicted of murder and set to be executed in front of a firing squad, Tom, now 16 and a singer-songwriter himself, is asked to replace Hill as the coal miners' pro-union voice and conscience. The opportunity forces him to decide between his loyalties to his socialite girlfriend, Eugenie, and the union that has affected his past, his family, and, with the outbreak of World War I, seemingly the world. Skurzynski's historically based novel is a page-turner from beginning to end. Tom is honorable yet never saccharin, and there's real drama in the fact-based trials of Haywood and Hill. Skurzynski's characters are vibrant, their story is memorable, and a little-known episode in American history gets some needed attention. --Roger Leslie
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780689839917 Skurzynski's (Spider's Voice) taut historical novel examines the plight and maturation of a boy caught in the crossfire of the early labor movement. Spanning eight years, the novel opens in 1907, when 10-year-old Tommy travels with his charming Uncle Jim from their Utah coal mine home to Boise, Idaho, to secretly deliver funds to help with union leader Big Bill Haywood's trial. However, when Tommy inadvertently reveals his uncle's identity (he's prominent in the union) to Pinkerton detectives, Jim is hustled off the train and later found dead. Tommy blames himself for Jim's death: "He would keep the terrible truth locked inside himself until the day they lowered him into his own grave." Tommy leaves school to work in the mines and help support himself and his mother, and in his relatively protected job as trapper boy he practices guitar, a talent which ultimately earns extra money and some fame. As Tom progresses from trapper to rockbuster, boy to man, Skurzynski effectively portrays the conflict, acrimony and even hypocrisy of the early union movement. When Wobbly songster Joe Hill, sentenced to death on a trumped-up murder charge, asks Tom to play at his funeral and take up his role in the movement, Tom must decide how he can best make a difference and how it will affect his romance with the mine owner's daughter. Readers will admire Tom for finding his own path to help ameliorate inequity and injustice. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780689839917 Gr 6-10-After the deaths of his father and uncle, Tommy Quinlan goes to work in the coal mines to help support his mother and himself. Since his job as a trapper involves periodic activity, he uses the quiet time to teach himself the guitar. He eventually becomes a laborer and after years of practicing his instrument, the teen begins to play at local gatherings to supplement the family's income. It is at one of these that he meets the mine owner's daughter, and they begin a stolen romance. Though Tommy loves Eugenie, he finds himself resentful of their class differences. His friends among the union supporters urge him to take a more active part and they call upon him to perform the rousing songs of the labor movement. When Joe Hill, the beloved union songwriter who has been unjustly convicted of murder and condemned to death, calls upon Tommy to become his successor, the boy must decide where his loyalties lie. This finely crafted and richly detailed coming-of-age story is made both distinctive and universal as readers follow Tommy's maturation. Skurzynski's research into the lives of Utah miners in the early 20th century and the efforts of workers to organize becomes evident in her convincing portrayal of their world, their cares, and their struggles. Rockbuster is an engaging story of self-discovery that teens will relate to on many levels.-Heather Dieffenbach, Lexington Public Library, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780689839917 Eighteen-year-old Tommy Quinlan is riding the train from Salt Lake City to Chicago for the funeral of Joe Hill. The smells, noise, and movement bring back memories of a train ride eight years earlier with his uncle, a coal mining union activist. The two were on their way to Idaho for the murder trial of Big Bill Haywood and hidden inside a cigar box was one thousand dollars for the defense fund. Tommy feels guilty when Pinkerton detectives drag his uncle from the train and murder him, but he does manage to deliver the money. Back home in his small mining town, Tommy starts to work the mines to help support his widowed mother and discovers a gift for the guitar, honing his skills in the underground blackness. As the years pass, his work grows more dangerous, but his gift for making up lyrics to popular tunes and playing in saloons helps bring in money. Almost predictably, he falls in love with a girl from the other side of the tracks, actually the daughter of the man who owns the mine. Their romance is difficult, carried out in secrecy and over long distances. When Tommy is urged to sing the union's cause and carry forward the work of Joe Hill, he harbors doubts about the direction of his life. Ultimately, he decides that he must be his own man and not give up the girl he loves. He will use his gift of word making as a lawyer and advance the cause of labor in that manner. Skurzynski (Ghost Horses, 2000, etc.) presents a good picture of the horrors of life in the pre-WWI western coal mines. However, in spite of Tommy's meetings with Haywood and Hill, they remain somewhat distant and sketchy characters. The ongoing courtship of his mother by a miner and the difficulties of his own romance often slow down the pace of the narration and the storytelling lacks the strength and power of its subject. (Fiction. YA)
...More
2001 (Western Novel)
Summer of Pearls
Book Jacket   Mike Blakley
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312875169 Homespun western charm flavors Blakely's slim historical fiction about one of the many "pearl rushes" that occurred between 1850 and 1910. Ben Crowell is 14 when his riverboat town of Port Caddo, Tex., erupts with pearl fever the summer of 1874, a season that also experiences a mysterious murder and the town's inevitable decline. Ben's tale begins when a riverboat explodes and a heroic stranger named Billy Treat saves Ben's life. Billy then settles into town, as does Judd Kelso, the cruel captain of the steamship whose engine blew. Suave Billy and vulgar Judd join young Ben in being infatuated with lovely Carol Anne "Pearl" Cobb, so nick-named because she trades sexual favors for the irregular and discolored pearls found in local freshwater mussels. No one guesses they are worth anything until Billy, a one-time pearl trader, introduces Pearl to Captain Trevor Brigginshaw, a burly international gem buyer who sets off a rush when he purchases her collection for $3,000. Treasure hunters barrage Caddo Lake, bringing business to an old-fashioned town and attracting the notice of a Pinkerton detective. Accused of skimming off the top, Brigginshaw goes to prison, only to be freed by a flood that literally sweeps him and Billy out of town. Pearl, heartbroken for Billy, now needs protection from Judd, and Ben is just the lovesick boy for the job. When Judd ends up with a knife in his chest, Port Caddo is left to ponder who killed him. Seven decades later, the nostalgic Ben, now an old man, treats readers to the romantic but perfectly pat answerÄa less suspenseful but dependable denouement. Blakely (Too Long at the Dance; Comanche Dawn) offers an easy, sentimental read, though some of his ambitious 19th-century gem seekers lack the luster of their best finds. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312875169 Adult/High School-Ben Crowell, now in his 80s, looks back on what was the most wonderful and meaningful time of his life-the summer of 1874-his 14th year. Port Caddo, TX, a once-thriving riverboat community, is struggling for survival in the face of the threat of coming railroads. A series of events, starting with the suspicious explosion of the steamboat Glory of Lake Caddo, on which Ben was a passenger, and his heroic rescue by the steamboat's cook, Billy Treat, resurrect the dying community. Billy Treat decides to remain there, and his discovery of a perfect pearl sets off the "Great Caddo Pearl Rush" of 1874, which at least for that summer brings prosperity to the town. Readers meet "Pearl" Cobb, Ben's first love; his friends; and Judd Kelso, the villain of the story whose murder remains a mystery for 40 years. The well-developed and carefully defined characters, the detailed setting, and the humor and adventure make this spare novel totally satisfying.- Pamela B. Rearden, Centreville Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
 
2001 (Novel of the West)
The Gates of the Alamo
 Stephen Harrigan
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780679447177 Settling his fictional cast firmly at the heart of 19th-century Texas, novelist Harrigan (Jacob's Well) retells the story of the Alamo with consummate skill, weaving a wealth of historical detail into a tight, moving human drama. Mary Mott, honest widow and frontier innkeeper near the Gulf Coast; her 16-year-old son, Terrell; an itinerant, fiercely independent botanist named Edmund McGowan; and a small collection of soldiers in Santa Anna's army are among those whose lives are disrupted as factions within the rebellious Mexican state unite in the common cause of independence. In a serpentine plot that never runs dull, Harrigan traces the growing war fever, beginning in 1835, neatly avoiding political debate by presenting the various arguments plainly from each point of view. When Terrell runs away after an emotionally disturbed girl, who is pregnant with his child, commits suicide, his mother and McGowan follow after him. All three wind up in the Alamo and are caught in the futile and ill-conceived 1836 battle on the outskirts of San Antonio de B?xar. Faced with the formidable chore of handling such monumental legends as William Travis, James Bowie, David Crockett, Sam Houston and, of course, Santa Anna, Harrigan takes a judicious middle path, treating them respectfully but not smoothing over their flaws. Strict traditionalists may bridle at the deft ease with which Harrigan manipulates the bloody siege to allow a sentimental conclusion to his novel, and exacting historians may note his glossing of Mexican tactics in the final storming of the old mission, though the gore and guts of 19th-century combat are faithfully rendered. Yet Harrigan has crafted a compulsively readable historical drama on a grand scale, peopled with highly believable frontier personalities--Mexican as well as American--and suffused with period authenticity. 100,000 first printing; 11-city author tour. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780679447177 The story of the Alamo is legendary. In 1836, during the Texas independence movement from Mexico, a group of Texans defended the Alamo, a mission-turned-fort in San Antonio, from siege by the forces of Mexican general Santa Anna. American schoolchildren still learn about the heroism displayed at the Alamo. The story is part of America's heritage of fighting tyranny. What Harrigan has done so well in this, his latest novel, is to re-create the Texas of the early nineteenth century and to put the conflict in human terms by vividy characterizing real and fictional characters who were involved on both sides of the Texas struggle to separate itself from its mother country. The framework of Harrigan's story is the adventures of an American botanist, Edmund McGowan, commissioned by the Mexican government to survey the plant life of the "subprovince" of Texas. When he loses his commission, he sets out to restore it by taking a trip to the capital, Mexico City, and on the way, he meets a woman and her son, both of whom will have a profound effect on the rest of his life. Along the way, readers are made privy to a heart-stopping, realistic depiction of the Battle of the Alamo. But the battle section is characteristic of all the scenes in the book, which build to an artful depiction of a certain time and place. --Brad Hooper
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780679447177 YA-In a 90-minute predawn battle on March 6, 1836, some 2000 Mexican Army soldiers stormed the Alamo, killing all of the defenders (they numbered fewer than 200). Americans have been remembering the Alamo ever since, perhaps not always accurately. Harrigan has produced a novel that is more concerned with history than myth. The result is a readable, evenhanded story that blends real and fictional personages, both American and Mexican, to convey a balanced rendition of the conflict. The diverse cast includes Joe, William Travis's slave; Blas Montoya, the caring, capable commander of a Mexican rifle company; Edmund McGowan, a botanist employed by the Mexican government; Lt. Villasenor, Santa Anna's mapmaker; the main character, 16-year-old "Texian" Terrell Mott; and his mother. Through their experiences, readers witness the inevitable consequences when governments, ethnic groups, and individuals cannot or will not understand one another. The novel begins and ends in 1911 with 91-year-old Terrell's participation in San Antonio's Battle of the Flowers parade. The narrative flows smoothly even as it reveals an impressive amount of historical research. Dialogue and story line convey such an abundance of detail that even a neophyte to Texas history will feel connected to the plot. Some YAs may find the length daunting, but those willing to give Harrigan's novel the time it deserves will be glad they did.-Dori DeSpain, Herndon Fortnightly Library, Fairfax County, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780679447177 selection)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780679447177 After a brief prolog in which we meet 91-year old Terrell Mott, "messenger of the Alamo, last surviving hero of San Jacinto, and former mayor of San Antonio," we are taken back to the spring of 1835 and the days leading up to one of the most celebrated battles in American history: the siege of the Alamo and the massacre of its defenders. By dovetailing events that did happen and people who did exist - David Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis, Santa Anna-with the dramatized episodes of imaginary figures - American botonist Mott, his widowed mother - Harrigan (a novelist associated with Texas Monthly) proves that a more-than-twice-told tale can be made fresh and immediate. He recalls the story with historical accuracy, and the doings of the fictional characters are exciting and possible. Indeed, so well mingled are history, biography, and imagination that one does not pause to ask where one ends and the other begins. This book deserves a place of honor on your shopping list. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
2001 (Best Juvenile)
The Midnight Train Home
 Erika Tamar
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780375801594 In this novel set during the Great Depression, Tamar (The Junkyard Dog) adds some twists to the much-explored terrain of the orphan train. As the story opens, 11-year-old Deirdre O'Rourke and her two brothers are boarding a train at New York's Grand Central Station; their mother then walks away, "stiff-legged and fast down the street, her arms wrapped tight around her body." The scene sets the book's somber tone. An aura of despair and loneliness persists as Deirdre watches her three-year-old brother go off with new parents, then is forced to abandon her 13-year-old brother when she, too, is adopted. Miserable in her new home with an austere minister and his wife, ridiculed by children for her hand-me-down clothes and viewed by adults as a ruffian, Deirdre loses her sense of dignity and identity until she hatches a plan to find her older brother. While the story line seems to be headed toward a happy reunion of the three children, fate plays an interesting trick, changing Deirdre's course. The protagonist's gift for song seems somewhat tacked on, since readers witness little of her joy of singing; as her talent plays such a crucial role in the novel's outcome, they may be left unconvinced by the final turn of events. Still, Deirdre's realization that she is in control of her destiny comes as an uplifting epiphany, adding light to a rather grim sequence of events. Ages 10-13. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780375801594 Gr. 5^-7. Diedre O'Rourke, age 11, can't believe that her mother has abandoned her and her brothers to the Orphan Train, and when she's separated from the boys, she feels truly bereft. Matters don't improve when she's taken in by a minister and his wife, who are more concerned with appearing generous than actually being so. Children will feel what it was like to travel West on the train and the inhumanity of being chosen by strangers, who checked your teeth and observed your manners. The drama loses its strength, however, in the last third of the story, in which Diedre parlays her singing voice into a career with a traveling vaudeville show, finding a home of sorts with the odd assortment of stage folk. Diedre grows up much too fast, but the idea that one so young can succeed and make important personal choices has inherent child appeal. An upbeat story, though not a first purchase. --Stephanie Zvirin
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Tamar (Alphabet City Ballet, 1996, etc.) has fashioned a rich narrative around the little-known but remarkable historical phenomenon of the orphan train. The novel opens more than 150 years ago on a train leaving the poverty-stricken tenements of New York City. Three immigrant siblings: Sean the oldest at 13, Deirdre, 11, and Jimmy, 3—have been given away by their destitute, homeless mother. The Children's Aid Society gathers up the three—who, along with dozens of other "orphaned" children, board a train that stops intermittently in rural towns where they are displayed to prospective adoptive parents. Jimmy is the first to be chosen, prompting the devastating realization that they will all be separated. A well-meaning but distant reverend and his cold wife take in Deirdre, who is pegged as an outcast and a charity case within the new and unfriendly community. Terribly lonely and unhappy, she is desperate to find her brothers, so when she finally receives word from Sean, she is determined to follow him to Texas. When a vaudeville show stops in town, she recognizes her chance to get out. Within this group of talented misfits, Deirdre discovers a new kind of family and an outlet for her stunning singing voice. When the act finally arrives in Texas and she is reunited with Sean, Deirdre realizes that she must choose for herself where she belongs. A compelling journey into the past with engaging characters, this story manages to avoid sentimentality, and yet still pulls the heartstrings. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375801594 The orphan train takes Deirdre O'Rourke to a childless minister and his humorless wife, who feed the girl but offer her little else. A talented singer, Deirdre joins a vaudeville troupe and eventually finds her way to Texas and to her brother. His placement--a happy farm situation--would welcome her as well, but Tamar has more satisfying, if somewhat theatrical, plans for the stage-struck girl. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Tamar (Alphabet City Ballet, 1996, etc.) has fashioned a rich narrative around the little-known but remarkable historical phenomenon of the orphan train. The novel opens more than 150 years ago on a train leaving the poverty-stricken tenements of New York City. Three immigrant siblings: Sean the oldest at 13, Deirdre, 11, and Jimmy, 3—have been given away by their destitute, homeless mother. The Children's Aid Society gathers up the three—who, along with dozens of other "orphaned" children, board a train that stops intermittently in rural towns where they are displayed to prospective adoptive parents. Jimmy is the first to be chosen, prompting the devastating realization that they will all be separated. A well-meaning but distant reverend and his cold wife take in Deirdre, who is pegged as an outcast and a charity case within the new and unfriendly community. Terribly lonely and unhappy, she is desperate to find her brothers, so when she finally receives word from Sean, she is determined to follow him to Texas. When a vaudeville show stops in town, she recognizes her chance to get out. Within this group of talented misfits, Deirdre discovers a new kind of family and an outlet for her stunning singing voice. When the act finally arrives in Texas and she is reunited with Sean, Deirdre realizes that she must choose for herself where she belongs. A compelling journey into the past with engaging characters, this story manages to avoid sentimentality, and yet still pulls the heartstrings. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375801594 Gr 5-7-Deirdre O'Rourke, 11, doesn't understand what's happening when she and her brothers, Sean and Jimmy, are bundled off on an orphan train in 1927 to find new families west of New York City. They're not orphans, but their mum says she can no longer support them. Reality sinks in when little Jimmy is chosen by a strange couple, and a furious Deirdre can't do anything to stop them. Then she ends up with Reverend Gansworthy and his stern, unaffectionate wife, who take her in only as an act of charity, and she is determined to find her brothers. Once she learns that Sean is in Texas, she runs away and joins a traveling vaudeville troupe in order to reach him. She discovers that singing is her main love in life, and that a troupe of actors can become as important a family as her brothers. Tamar does a wonderful job of incorporating the historical attitudes and realities of life for the poor during the late `20s. It's interesting to read about the ongoing tradition of orphan trains, so often connected only to the 1880s. The characters of the vaudeville troupe are convincing as a surrogate family for Deirdre, and the descriptions of her performance anxieties are real enough to appeal to any would-be performer. In spite of some inconsistencies in the protagonist's character, this book is a useful addition to the canon of orphan-train fiction.-Linda Bindner, formerly at Athens Clarke County Library, GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
2000 (Western Novel)
Masterson
Book Jacket   Richard S. Wheeler
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780312870478 In 1920, legendary gunfighter Bat Masterson is a successful New York newspaper columnist. His colleagues--Louella Parsons and Damon Runyon, among them--want to know the real story. Parsons' persistent questions prompt Bat to look back at his past, particularly the Dodge City years and his associations with Doc Holliday, the Earp brothers, and the notorious gunfight at the OK Corral. Bat and his wife, Emma, begin an odyssey across the U.S., and the former lawman tries to understand his role in the Wild West and explain it to the younger Emma. Wheeler is an award-winning historical-fiction author whose strength is the interweaving of a dozen engaging characters into a coherent vision of a large event, such as the San Francisco earthquake in Aftershocks [BKL Mr 1 99]. In this melancholy, very poignant novel, he shows his ability to focus on one character, producing a nuanced close-up instead of a detailed panorama. Readers will feel privileged to have accompanied Masterson on his pilgrimage. --Wes Lukowsky
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780312870478 Keeping Wheeler's printing history straight is not easy, since in a 12-month period he's published Dark Passage, Aftershocks, Sun Mountain (p. 487), Flint's Honor (p. 754) and now Masterson, for a grand total of sharply realistic novels that goes through the roof. This is all good news, however, since Wheeler is among the two or three top living writers of western historicals'if not the best, provided you don't count strong stylist Loren Estleman (see p. TKTK). Some of the works on Wheeler's crammed publishing schedule, we've been told, were written earlier but had to wait for print. In 1921, celebrated ex-lawman Bartholomew ``Bat'' Masterson is writing a column for New York's Morning Telegraph when he's interviewed by Louella Parsons and Damon Runyon about his notorious past. (Runyon later re-immortalizes him as Sky Masterson in the short story that became Guys and Dolls.) ``Have you killed twenty-six men? Have you been charged with first-degree murder four times? Did you shoot down seven cowboys and bring their heads in a sack back to Dodge City? Have you owned cathouses?'' Louella asks. His life, by now outrageously overblown by Ned Buntline for dime novels, so turns Bat's stomach that he decides to travel with his wife Emma to the old towns where the stories began and straighten out his own history. Strong on character, and as factual as possible, of course, as it moves smartly along, although wife Emma, about whom little is known, is largely a device for exposition.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780312870478 Again depicting characters with frailties as well as heroic qualities, the prolific Wheeler's 25th novel (after Aftershocks) is a sprightly romp of revisionist western history. In 1919, legendary gunfighter Bat Masterson is a 64-year-old New York City sportswriter who suddenly becomes worried about the inglorious and mostly false reputation he has endured for decades. Certainly, he had hunted buffalo and fought Indians at the Battle of Adobe Walls; he'd been a gambler and a lawman. But everyone still believes he's an incorrigible womanizer who has run cathouses and gunned down dozens of men. He does admit to being quite the ladies' man, but bristles at the dime-novel exaggerations that depict him swaggering with 26 notches in his pistols and carrying the heads of seven outlaws around in a sack. Accompanied by his common-law wife, Emma, Bat decides to return to Dodge City, Tombstone and Denver to clear his name and to establish that he killed only one man, who richly deserved it, and that he is really a nice fellow if folks would just get to know him. This journey is a hoot as the old lawman finds that the public wants the legend, not the truth. When Bat visits his old friend Wyatt Earp in L.A., he meets actor William S. Hart and learns about why western films are so popular in Hollywood. Bat reminisces with Emma and a few old saddle pals, but finally gives up his quest when he realizes that folks want mythic, infamous heroes, and "you may as well sit back and enjoy the ride because there's no way to get off the train." This is classic Wheeler, a solid story about real people told with wit, compassion and a bit of whimsy. Author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
...More
2000 (Novel of the West)
Prophet Annie
Book Jacket   Ellen Recknor
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780380795130 Spur Award-winner Recknor (Leaving Missouri) offers a daffy, highly original western told in the voice of a sassy and bewildered heroine whose unlikely and hilarious adventures skewer the conventions of the traditional Wild West tale. In 1881, at age 22, Annie Pinkerton Boone Newcastle is already twice a widow. Born in Sycamore, Iowa, which she fled only briefly at 17 to marry a gandy dancer who was promptly kicked in the head by a mule, she is promised in marriage by her dying mother to Jonas Newcastle, a prosperous "old geezer" 54 years her senior. Jonas dies in bed on their wedding night (shouting, "Freedom!"), and that's the good news for Annie. The bad news is that Jonas's ghost inhabits Annie's body, talking to her, demanding conjugal visits and giving speeches through her to audiences eager to hear Jonas's visions of the future. As a circus oddity, she becomes Prophet Annie, sort of a Psychic Network of the 1880s. Traveling with P.T. Barnum and her gourmet chef Navajo pal, Sam Two Trees, Annie feeds shortcake to her pet African cheetah in the Arizona desert while dead birds fall on her head and Jonas spouts predictions about baseball, automobiles, electricity, WWI and Jack Benny. Annie's notoriety brings her fame, fortune and the unwelcome attentions of an inept gang of outlaws whose meanness is only outmatched by their odor. Here Recknor's tale bogs down in sappy predictability as Annie falls in love with the outlaw leader in a typical good-girl-loves-bad-boy scenario. The earlier charm of Annie's blunt-spoken narrative eventually loses its magic, skidding into a too-cute conclusion. When Jonas's ghost departs, the reader will wish for an encore by the "dirty-minded old coot." (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
...More
 
2000 (Best Juvenile)
Wrango
 Brian Burks
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780152018153 Gr. 5^-8. Basing his story on the early years of African American cowboy George McJunkin, Burks spins a historical tale about a young man who yearns to ride the range. After he inadvertently squares off against the Klan to protect his father, George leaves town to save his own life. It isn't long before he lucks into a three-month stint as a horse wrangler on a cattle drive. By the time the cattle are in the boxcars, he has survived a rattlesnake bite, rescued an enemy from drowning, and helped catch a murderous thief. Supporting characters are not developed, and the events sound cliched. But Burks capably handles the goings on with honest dialogue and a wagonload of action--particularly in the scene describing the crossing of the treacherous Red River. An epilogue sketches in the real George's later years, but unfortunately, Burks never tells how much of the novel is actually fact. A glossary of cowboy slang is appended. --Randy Meyer
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780152018153 From Burks (Walks Alone, 1998, etc.), the fact-based story of an ex-slave turned cowboy; the historical details are riveting but the characterizations and plotting are not. George McJunkin, a teenager recently freed from slavery, and trained to ride horses and rope by Senor Valarde, joins a cattle drive from Comanche, Texas, to Abilene, Kansas. Along the way he encounters prejudice, saves the life of one of his fellow drivers, is bitten by a rattlesnake, sees a lynching, begins to learn to read, and survives storm, stampede, and possibly hostile Indians to win the respect of his boss and crew. The particulars of life on the trail and the hardships of the job are fascinating; Burks paints a vivid picture of the tension, adventure, and tedium that are all part of the cowboy's lot. The motives ascribed to the characters, however, don't always make sense. Senor Valarde threatens to quit unless the trail boss, who already has a full crew, hires George; the trail boss not only has no hard feelings, but then fires the wrangler'or wrango'for drunkenness and gives the inexperienced George the job. A mean-spirited bigot, Charley, becomes abruptly faithful and kind after George saves his life, just one of the several instances in which the veracity in the setting and details is not matched by credible characters or plotting. (b&w photos, map, glossary, bibliography) (Fiction. 11-13)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780152018153 Gr 4-8-A fictionalized biography of black cowboy George McJunkin's first cattle drive at age 16, Wrango is an affecting history lesson. Wrangling being the closest thing to an equal-opportunity vocation following the Civil War, it attracts George, who joins his mentor, Senor Valarde, on the Chisholm Trail herding cattle from Comanche, TX, to the rail yards in Abilene, KS. Racism surfaces-an ironically fortuitous run-in with the Klan in his south Texas hometown provides the catalyst George needs to cut the apron strings and begin his career as a cowboy; a jealous cowpuncher questions his place on the trail-but the rigors of the cattle drive generally supersede, or at least postpone, individual confrontations. Burks hints at McJunkin's intellectual potential through his desire to learn to read combined with an archaeological curiosity that would lead many years later to his discovery of the skeleton of "Folsom Man" in New Mexico. Indians, horse thieves, cholera, harsh weather, erratic terrain, and even herds of buffalo provide unifying adversaries for this mix of cowboys and vaqueros. Addenda include a frontispiece portrait of McJunkin on his horse taken when he was about 60-years-old, a map of the Chisholm Trail, and a brief glossary of cowboy/vaquero lingo. Fans of Denise Lewis Patrick's The Adventures of Midnight Son (Holt, 1995) will want to read this absorbing chronicle of a slightly older, equally introspective, although perhaps a bit cooler-headed, former slave who is determined to be his own man, proud and free.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780152018153 The youth of George McJunkin, a real-life African-American cowboy, is fictionalized in a novel that follows the teen as he leaves his home in post-Civil War Texas and joins a cattle drive. The writing is smooth, but the episodic story is predictable and doesn't offer much beyond the usual elements of the genre--a rattlesnake bite, a dangerous river crossing, and confrontations with horse thieves and Native Americans. Bib., glos. Reviewed by: pds (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
...More
  Book Jacket
1999 (Western Novel)
Journey of the Dead
 Loren Estleman
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780787121556 Although he is better known for his mysteries, Estleman (Edsel) has written some elegant Westerns based on actual characters and events. Journey of the Dead is narrated by an alchemist named Francisco de la Zaragoza who has spent his long life searching for the philosopher's stone and is famous as a healer and wise man. Sheriff Pat Garrett, haunted by the specter of Billy the Kid, seeks him out along the fabled Jornada de la Muerta, hoping that Francisco can make his nightmares go away. These two personalities swap their stories and evoke the splendor of the American Southwest. Billy Bonney is not romanticized here, but his story is told in language as polished as a buffalo nickel. Robert Forster's grim, rather flat voice is perfect for Garrett, whose life was so full of blood and death. Estleman's writing style has always been evocative, but this is his best yet. Enthusiastically recommended for all public libraries.DBarbara Perkins, Irving P.L., TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312859992 YA-In this elegantly conceived western, Billy the Kid's death haunts his killer until such time as Pat Garrett, the murderer, is assassinated-by Billy's ghost. Estleman presents this tale through the testimonial manuscript of an ancient Spaniard, Francisco de la Zaragoza, of Durango, Mexico, already into his second century when he meets Pat Garrett soon after Billy's death. In spite of these character oddities and plot spins, Estleman's book makes quick and absorbing reading, carrying readers straight into the Southwest of the late 19th century, where men necessarily feared for their lives even in the company of their closest buddies and women were relegated-here quite literally-to the roles of whore or mother. Teens who haven't had the opportunity to become acquainted with this uniquely American genre can get an excellent first taste of it here. However, in keeping with our contemporary mores, Estleman allows his character to be shown in sexual congress, something Zane Grey would never have done.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. As he shows here once more, the prolific Estleman (Billy Gashade, 1997, etc.) has no rival--not even Louis L'Amour--in evoking the American Southwest. With hard-robbed dialogue as bright as a new-minted Indian-head penny, this latest epic is narrated by the alchemist Francisco de la Zaragoza, Viceroy in Absentia, Durango, Mexico--who just happens to be 129 years old. The viceroy's tale chronicles the life of his sometime friend and yam-swapper Sheriff Pat Garrett, who killed Billy Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid. The book's title is taken from La Jomada del Muerto, a long, sun-hammered passage of white sand trickling through the New Mexico desert like an alchemist's athanor, where the blood bubbles and human clay might perhaps mm to gold if the spirit were pure enough. Despite that, the invincible Pat Garrett's whole life could be viewed as a kind of sun-baked torture relieved only by whiskey, the warm Spanish blood of his wife Apolinaria, and his six children, while many of the outstanding incidents of his life take place on that blazing white sand of La Jornada, including his eventual murder at age 65. The episodic story is strong together by Garrett's nightmares, during which he's visited time and again by the ghost of the 21-year-old Bonney. Vignettes include Sheriff Pat's tracking of his friend Bonney through territory after territory; Bonney's slaying; Pat's being hired to slaughter buffalo and later to protect the herds of a cattlemen's association; his fruitless tracking of the killers of Colonel Albert Fountain and his young son on La Jomada; his attempt to irrigate the dry land; and his meetings with Governor John Nance Garner and later with President Teddy Roosevelt. Style to bum, talk that haunts. Deserves blue ribbons and rosettes. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
1999 (Novel of the West)
The All-True Travels and Adventures of Liddie Newton
Book Jacket   Jane Smiley
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780679450740 A woman whose abolitionist husband is murdered in 1850s Kansas cuts her hair and tracks his killers to Missouri. A 200,000-copy first printing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375401732 Seamlessly abridged, and beautifully read by Mare Winningham, this audio book will lull casual readers into stopping whatever they are doing and listening intently. The historical novel at its finest (LJ 4/1/98), this features a woman character at her strongest, calling to mind the works of Jane Austen. It's also Smiley's first venture into the 19th century. At the start of the novel, Lidie simply adopts her husband's abolitionist views; eventually, the young Lidie becomes a fervent believer, with the courage to challenge her husband and the social skill to damn the Kansas abolitionists in public. She presumptuously dons men's clothing and sets out alone to search for her husband's killers, but lets herself be tricked and encouraged by a slave woman looking only for escape. Smiley's skill with words has enabled her to produce three utterly different novels, and the recent movie success of A Thousand Acres will hopefully tempt listeners to pick this up. (Random House is also issuing an unabridged version.)?Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780679450740 An immensely appealing heroine, a historical setting conveyed with impressive fidelity and a charming and poignant love story make Smiley's (A Thousand Acres) new novel a sure candidate for bestseller longevity. Lidie Harkness, a spinster at 20, is an anomaly in 1850s Illinois. She has an independent mind, a sharp tongue and a backbone; she prefers to swim, shoot, ride and fish rather than spend a minute over the stove or with a darning needle. That makes her the perfect bride for Bostonian abolitionist Thomas Newton, who courts and marries her in a few days while enroute to Lawrence, K.T. (Kansas Territory), with a box of Sharps rifles. As the newlyweds gingerly come to know each other, they are plunged into the turmoil between pro-slavery Border Ruffians from Missouri and K.T. Free Staters, an increasingly savage conflict that presages the Civil War. Smiley evokes antebellum life with a depth of detail that easily equals Russell Banks's exploration of the same terrain in Cloudsplitter (Forecasts, Dec. 1, 1997). Her scenes of quotidian domesticity on the prairie are as engrossing as her evocation of riverboat travel on the Mississippi. Through an exquisite delineation of physical and social differences, she distinguishes and animates settings as diverse as Lawrence, Kansas City, St. Louis and New Orleans. As Lidie and Thomas experience privation, danger and the growing pleasures of emotional intimacy, and as tragedy strikes and Lidie pursues a perilous revenge, Smiley explores the complex moral issues of the time, paying acute attention to inbred attitudes on both sides of the slavery question. Propelled by Lidie's spirited voice, this narrative is packed with drama, irony, historical incident, moral ambiguities and the perception of human frailty. Much of its suspenseful momentum derives from Smiley's adherence to plausible reality: this is not a novel in which things necessarily turn out right for the heroine, for women in general, for blacks or for the righteous. Lidie's character deepens as she gains insight into the ambiguous and complex forces that propel men and women into love and compassion, hatred and violence. In the end, this novel performs all the functions of superior fiction: in reading one woman's moving story, we understand an historical epoch, the social and political conditions that produced it and the psychological, moral and economic motivations of the people who incited and endured its violent confrontations. 200,000 first printing; Random House audio. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780375702235 Smiley (Moo, 1995, etc.) scales another peak with this bighearted and thoughtful picaresque novel set mostly in the Kansas Territory shortly before the Civil War. Narrator Lydia ``Lidie'' Harkness grows up in Quincy, Illinois, a tomboyish burden to her several older stepsisters, and leaps at the chance to marry Thomas Newton, a soft-spoken abolitionist who's bent on helping the ``free-staters'' dedicated to protecting Kansas against those who would make it a slave state. Missourians crossing the border wreak havoc on such hotbeds of abolitionist activity as Lawrence (near which the Newtons settle), and Thomas is soon one of many casualties. The ``disputacious'' Lidie?who'd become an even more ardent free-stater than her husband?thereafter sets off on an eastward journey seeking revenge and finding instead an unexpected empowerment. Her adventures while disguised as a boy (``Lyman Arquette''), reporting for a proslavery newspaper, and helping a woman escape a plantation are recounted with a zest and specificity that beg comparison with Mark Twain's portrayal of the immortal Huck Finn. Lidie is a splendid creation: a forthright, intelligent woman who recognizes, long before she can articulate it, the kinship of women relegated to submissive housewifery with people who are literally bought and sold?and who acts to change things. Surrounding her are such agreeable supporting characters as silver- tongued, slave-owning widower ``Papa'' Day, ``radical'' Louisa Bisket (who considers corsets symbolic of male tyranny), and the superbly unctuous David Graves, blithely unimpeded by loyalties of any variety (``My principle is to serve both sides, to have no sides, indeed, but to serve all!''). Not all of Smiley's obviously scrupulous research is transmitted successfully into story?Lidie does mull over political and social complexities a mite compulsively. Little else goes awry, though, in the richly entertaining saga of a woman who might have been well matched with Thomas Berger's ``Little Big Man,'' and whom Huck Finn would have been proud to claim as his big sister. (First printing of 200,000)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780679450740 Each of Smiley's three most recent novels is a radical departure from the last. She dramatized midwestern farm life in A Thousand Acres (1991), satirized academia in Moo (1995), and now brings her acumen and magic to historical fiction, transporting her expectant readers back in time to the frenetic years leading up to the Civil War. The story begins in Quincy, Illinois, where 20-year-old Lidie has to decide what to do with her life. Tall, plain, athletic, she has zero tolerance for the severe limitations imposed on her sex and is extremely skeptical of marriage, but when Thomas Newton, a self-possessed New England abolitionist, comes to town on his way out to the Kansas Territory, she responds without hesitation to his suit. Thrilled to be off on an adventure, she doesn't stop to wonder why her husband values her fearlessness and skill with horse and gun over her feminine wiles, but she finds out soon enough. Kansas is a rough and violent place, and abolitionists are a despised and endangered breed. Their life is one of deprivation and danger, but Lidie, an entrancing narrator, finds marriage every bit as challenging as poverty, winter, and war. Tragically, she doesn't get a chance to learn what love really is because Thomas is murdered within the year. A bit mad with grief and determined to exact revenge, Lidie disguises herself as a man, but she soon realizes that few things are as simple as fanatics make them out to be. Gloriously detailed and brilliantly told, this is a hugely entertaining, illuminating, and sagacious vision of a time of profound moral and political conflict, and of one woman's coming to terms with the perilous, maddening, and precious world. --Donna Seaman
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780679450740 A woman whose abolitionist husband is murdered in 1850s Kansas cuts her hair and tracks his killers to Missouri. A 200,000-copy first printing. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375401732 Seamlessly abridged, and beautifully read by Mare Winningham, this audio book will lull casual readers into stopping whatever they are doing and listening intently. The historical novel at its finest (LJ 4/1/98), this features a woman character at her strongest, calling to mind the works of Jane Austen. It's also Smiley's first venture into the 19th century. At the start of the novel, Lidie simply adopts her husband's abolitionist views; eventually, the young Lidie becomes a fervent believer, with the courage to challenge her husband and the social skill to damn the Kansas abolitionists in public. She presumptuously dons men's clothing and sets out alone to search for her husband's killers, but lets herself be tricked and encouraged by a slave woman looking only for escape. Smiley's skill with words has enabled her to produce three utterly different novels, and the recent movie success of A Thousand Acres will hopefully tempt listeners to pick this up. (Random House is also issuing an unabridged version.)?Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780679450740 An immensely appealing heroine, a historical setting conveyed with impressive fidelity and a charming and poignant love story make Smiley's (A Thousand Acres) new novel a sure candidate for bestseller longevity. Lidie Harkness, a spinster at 20, is an anomaly in 1850s Illinois. She has an independent mind, a sharp tongue and a backbone; she prefers to swim, shoot, ride and fish rather than spend a minute over the stove or with a darning needle. That makes her the perfect bride for Bostonian abolitionist Thomas Newton, who courts and marries her in a few days while enroute to Lawrence, K.T. (Kansas Territory), with a box of Sharps rifles. As the newlyweds gingerly come to know each other, they are plunged into the turmoil between pro-slavery Border Ruffians from Missouri and K.T. Free Staters, an increasingly savage conflict that presages the Civil War. Smiley evokes antebellum life with a depth of detail that easily equals Russell Banks's exploration of the same terrain in Cloudsplitter (Forecasts, Dec. 1, 1997). Her scenes of quotidian domesticity on the prairie are as engrossing as her evocation of riverboat travel on the Mississippi. Through an exquisite delineation of physical and social differences, she distinguishes and animates settings as diverse as Lawrence, Kansas City, St. Louis and New Orleans. As Lidie and Thomas experience privation, danger and the growing pleasures of emotional intimacy, and as tragedy strikes and Lidie pursues a perilous revenge, Smiley explores the complex moral issues of the time, paying acute attention to inbred attitudes on both sides of the slavery question. Propelled by Lidie's spirited voice, this narrative is packed with drama, irony, historical incident, moral ambiguities and the perception of human frailty. Much of its suspenseful momentum derives from Smiley's adherence to plausible reality: this is not a novel in which things necessarily turn out right for the heroine, for women in general, for blacks or for the righteous. Lidie's character deepens as she gains insight into the ambiguous and complex forces that propel men and women into love and compassion, hatred and violence. In the end, this novel performs all the functions of superior fiction: in reading one woman's moving story, we understand an historical epoch, the social and political conditions that produced it and the psychological, moral and economic motivations of the people who incited and endured its violent confrontations. 200,000 first printing; Random House audio. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780375702235 Smiley (Moo, 1995, etc.) scales another peak with this bighearted and thoughtful picaresque novel set mostly in the Kansas Territory shortly before the Civil War. Narrator Lydia ``Lidie'' Harkness grows up in Quincy, Illinois, a tomboyish burden to her several older stepsisters, and leaps at the chance to marry Thomas Newton, a soft-spoken abolitionist who's bent on helping the ``free-staters'' dedicated to protecting Kansas against those who would make it a slave state. Missourians crossing the border wreak havoc on such hotbeds of abolitionist activity as Lawrence (near which the Newtons settle), and Thomas is soon one of many casualties. The ``disputacious'' Lidie?who'd become an even more ardent free-stater than her husband?thereafter sets off on an eastward journey seeking revenge and finding instead an unexpected empowerment. Her adventures while disguised as a boy (``Lyman Arquette''), reporting for a proslavery newspaper, and helping a woman escape a plantation are recounted with a zest and specificity that beg comparison with Mark Twain's portrayal of the immortal Huck Finn. Lidie is a splendid creation: a forthright, intelligent woman who recognizes, long before she can articulate it, the kinship of women relegated to submissive housewifery with people who are literally bought and sold?and who acts to change things. Surrounding her are such agreeable supporting characters as silver- tongued, slave-owning widower ``Papa'' Day, ``radical'' Louisa Bisket (who considers corsets symbolic of male tyranny), and the superbly unctuous David Graves, blithely unimpeded by loyalties of any variety (``My principle is to serve both sides, to have no sides, indeed, but to serve all!''). Not all of Smiley's obviously scrupulous research is transmitted successfully into story?Lidie does mull over political and social complexities a mite compulsively. Little else goes awry, though, in the richly entertaining saga of a woman who might have been well matched with Thomas Berger's ``Little Big Man,'' and whom Huck Finn would have been proud to claim as his big sister. (First printing of 200,000)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780679450740 Each of Smiley's three most recent novels is a radical departure from the last. She dramatized midwestern farm life in A Thousand Acres (1991), satirized academia in Moo (1995), and now brings her acumen and magic to historical fiction, transporting her expectant readers back in time to the frenetic years leading up to the Civil War. The story begins in Quincy, Illinois, where 20-year-old Lidie has to decide what to do with her life. Tall, plain, athletic, she has zero tolerance for the severe limitations imposed on her sex and is extremely skeptical of marriage, but when Thomas Newton, a self-possessed New England abolitionist, comes to town on his way out to the Kansas Territory, she responds without hesitation to his suit. Thrilled to be off on an adventure, she doesn't stop to wonder why her husband values her fearlessness and skill with horse and gun over her feminine wiles, but she finds out soon enough. Kansas is a rough and violent place, and abolitionists are a despised and endangered breed. Their life is one of deprivation and danger, but Lidie, an entrancing narrator, finds marriage every bit as challenging as poverty, winter, and war. Tragically, she doesn't get a chance to learn what love really is because Thomas is murdered within the year. A bit mad with grief and determined to exact revenge, Lidie disguises herself as a man, but she soon realizes that few things are as simple as fanatics make them out to be. Gloriously detailed and brilliantly told, this is a hugely entertaining, illuminating, and sagacious vision of a time of profound moral and political conflict, and of one woman's coming to terms with the perilous, maddening, and precious world. --Donna Seaman
...More
1999 (Best Juvenile)
Petey
Book Jacket   Ben Mikaelson
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780786804269 Born in 1920 with cerebral palsy and dismissed by ignorant doctors as feeble-minded, Petey Corbin spends all but the first two years of his long life institutionalized, his world barely larger than the walls of an asylum ward or, much later, nursing home. Within those walls, further imprisoned in an uncontrollable, atrophied body, he nonetheless experiences joy and love, sorrow, loss, and triumph as intensely as anyone on the outside. Able to communicate only with rudimentary sounds and facial expressions, he makes a series of friends through the years; as a very old man in a 1990s setting, he comes into contact with Trevor, a teenager who defends the old man against a trio of bullies, and remains a loyal companion through his final illness. This is actually two books in one, as with a midstream switch in point-of-view as the story becomes Trevor's, focusing on his inner growth as he overcomes his initial disgust to become Petey's friend. Mikaelsen portrays the places in which Petey is kept in (somewhat) less horrific terms than Kate Seago did in Matthew Unstrung (1998), and surrounds him with good-hearted people (even Petey's parents are drawn sympathetically?they are plunged into poverty during his first two years by the bills his care entails). There are no accusations here, and despite some overly sentimentalized passages, the message comes through that every being deserves care, respect, and a chance to make a difference. (Fiction. 11-13)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Born in 1920 with cerebral palsy and dismissed by ignorant doctors as feeble-minded, Petey Corbin spends all but the first two years of his long life institutionalized, his world barely larger than the walls of an asylum ward or, much later, nursing home. Within those walls, further imprisoned in an uncontrollable, atrophied body, he nonetheless experiences joy and love, sorrow, loss, and triumph as intensely as anyone on the outside. Able to communicate only with rudimentary sounds and facial expressions, he makes a series of friends through the years; as a very old man in a 1990s setting, he comes into contact with Trevor, a teenager who defends the old man against a trio of bullies, and remains a loyal companion through his final illness. This is actually two books in one, as with a midstream switch in point-of-view as the story becomes Trevor's, focusing on his inner growth as he overcomes his initial disgust to become Petey's friend. Mikaelsen portrays the places in which Petey is kept in (somewhat) less horrific terms than Kate Seago did in Matthew Unstrung (1998), and surrounds him with good-hearted people (even Petey's parents are drawn sympathetically--they are plunged into poverty during his first two years by the bills his care entails). There are no accusations here, and despite some overly sentimentalized passages, the message comes through that every being deserves care, respect, and a chance to make a difference. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780786804269 Gr 7 Up-This ambitious book succeeds on a number of levels. It is based on a true, tragic situation in which Petey, born with cerebral palsy in 1920, is misdiagnosed as mentally retarded. Unable to care for him at home, his parents relinquish him to the care of the state, where he languishes in a mental institution for the next five decades. Step by institutional step, readers see how this tragedy could happen. More importantly, readers feel Petey's pain, boredom, hope, fear, and occasional joy. A handful of people grow to know and love him over the course of his long and mostly difficult life, but few are able to effect much change. In 1977, statewide reorganization and a new, correct diagnosis result in Petey being moved to a local nursing home. There, the final, triumphant chapters of his life are entwined with an eighth-grade student named Trevor, who finds his own life transformed by love and caring in ways he never could have imagined. Mikaelsen successfully conveys Petey's strangled attempts to communicate. He captures the slow passage of time, the historical landscape encompassed. He brings emotions to the surface and tears to readers' eyes as time and again Petey suffers the loss of friends he has grown to love. Yet, this book is much more than a tearjerker. Its messages-that all people deserve respect; that one person can make a difference; that changing times require new attitudes-transcend simplistic labels. Give this book to anyone who has ever shouted "retard" at another. Give it to any student who "has" to do community service. Give it to anyone who needs a good book to read.-Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780788745577 Gr 7-12-Actor L.J. Ganser provides a superb narration of Ben Mikaelsen's touching story (Hyperion, 1998) about a man who lives his entire life institutionalized because of cerebral palsy, yet manages to maintain and share a real love of life. The story begins in 1922, when the infant Petey is delivered to the Warm Springs Insane Asylum in Montana by parents who are unable to cope with his disabilities. He is misdiagnosed as an "idiot," and thought to be completely incapable of learning or comprehension. Petey grows up in Warm Springs, often in misery, but finds occasional moments of joy in the wind on his face, birds outside the window, a family of mice and, eventually, other people. Another young inmate, Calvin, is about Petey's age and is mildly retarded, but he helps Petey find a voice and becomes a true friend. The second half of the book takes place in a nursing home in Bozeman, MT, where Petey has been moved after a major reorganization of the state hospital system. There Petey is befriended by an eighth-grader who grows to love Petey and adopts him as his grandfather. Ganser does a good job of creating distinct voices for the characters, particularly Petey, who speaks only in a few guttural phrases. Also included is an interview with the author who discusses his relationship with Clyde Cothern, the real-life inspiration for the book, and suggests ways that young people can make a difference in the lives of older people by visiting nursing homes. Petey was a 1999 Best Book for Young Adults and has been nominated for children's choice awards in several states. This recording will win new fans for Petey and for Mikaelsen.-Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, Morgan Hill, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780786804269 Gr. 7^-10. There are really two stories here: in the first, a little boy named Petey, born in 1905 with cerebral palsy, is misdiagnosed as an idiot, and his parents reluctantly institutionalize him. Even though he cannot make himself understood easily, he becomes attached to caregivers and another inmate. He grows up with a sharp intelligence and a desire for human things: affection, touch, the feel of the outside air. He is moved to another institution as an old man (the story leaps decades between some chapters) and loses touch with all those he cared about. In the second half, a young teen named Trevor, almost against his will, befriends Petey when he saves Petey from a snowball attack by local riffraff in Bozeman, Montana. Trevor engineers Petey's reunion with an old buddy, gets him a new wheelchair, and, in a four-hanky climax, calls him Grandpa and inspires his distant and estranged parents. Although Petey is a cross between angel and saint, and none of the characters is any more than two-dimensional, there's a real strength here in the depiction of the person inside a disability and the dignity that is a divine right, even for the old or feeble. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780786804269 A writer admired for fast-paced adventure stories like Stranded and Sparrow Hawk Red takes on a more serious topic in this novel about the relationship between a teenager and a man mistakenly institutionalized for much of his life. Part one of the novel relates Petey's "backstory": in 1922, at the age of two, his distraught parents commit him to the state's insane asylum, unaware that their son is actually suffering from severe cerebral palsy. Petey avoids withdrawal and depression despite the horrific conditions in his new "home" and, over the course of 60 years, a string of caretakers befriends but then leaves him. The point of view in part two shifts from Petey to Trevor, an eighth-grader suffering from both lack of friends and lack of parental attention after a series of moves. Trevor finds the answer to his needs in an unlikely friendship with the 70-year-old Petey, who has moved to a nursing home. Mikaelson capably highlights the abuses and prejudices suffered by those stricken with cerebral palsy, but teeters dangerously over the line between poignancy and sentimentality. At its best, the third-person narration makes readers privy to the thoughts of the two protagonists, but more often it keeps them at bay ("As people escaped civilization to enjoy the solitude of a mountain peak, so also did many of the patients' minds escape existence and find solitude beyond the reaches of the ward"). As a result, the characters never really come to life beyond their roles as symbolsÄPetey that of the power of the human spirit, Trevor that of the tolerant, unprejudiced do-gooder. A novel that never meets the promise of its compelling premise. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
...More
 
1998 (Western Novel)
The Kiowa Verdict
 Cynthia Haseloff
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780786207527 Mining a critical but little-known event in the history of relations between Native Americans and whites, Haseloff (Man Without Medicine) has produced a gripping narrative. In 1871, Kiowa chief Satanta leads a raiding party into Texas, torturing and killing a group of white freighters. William Tecumseh Sherman, in Texas investigating "Indian depredations," orders the U.S. Army out in pursuit. The trail leads straight back to the Kiowa reservation in Oklahoma. When confronted, Satanta does not deny the raid but boasts of his leadership and is ordered arrested (along with other leaders of the foray). As Satanta is put on trial for murder, the events test President Grant's new Peace Policy, which replaces the military with civilian, Christian missionaries in Indian affairs. Satanta is found guilty, but closed-door testimony by the enigmatic Adrienne Chastain, a one-time captive of the chief, saves him from execution. Haseloff refuses to whitewash Satanta's brutality, and she uses gripping detail to fill gaps in the historical record, making her characters come alive with a human ambiguity too often lacking in the genre. (Nov.) FYI: Warner TV has bought the rights to The Kiowa Verdict and to an as yet unwritten prequel, titled Satanta's Woman, for a miniseries. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
...More
  Book Jacket
1998 (Novel of the West)
Comanche Moon
 Larry McMurtry
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780684807546 At the conclusion of McMurtry's epic masterpiece, Lonesome Dove, Ranger Woodrow Call is haunted by the human cost of his determination to drive cattle to Montana. "A hell of a vision," he sarcastically comments to a reporter. For McMurtry, the experience of the Hat Creek Cattle Company served as a metaphor for much of the frontier experience; it was heroic, ennobling of spirit, but, in the end, heartbreaking. Comanche Moon is the fourth of the Ranger series and the second prequel to Lonesome Dove. Here, as Texas anticipates the outbreak of the Civil War, Gus McRae and Woodrow Call are relatively young men. Their rangering activities are primarily directed at subduing the declining but still deadly Comanches. In this panorama of antebellum Texas, McMurtry reintroduces familiar characters, some fiction, some historical, some endearing, and some terrifying, including Deets, the black scout; Clara, the longtime love of Gus McRae; Buffalo Hump, the fierce, primitive Comanche warrior; and Buffalo Hump's sociopathic son, Blue Duck. McMurtry's depiction of the West is far removed from the dime-novel portrayal of constant excitement and adventure. Instead, white settlers, rangers, and Comanches endure long periods of grinding tedium, punctuated by spasms of deadly violence, which often arrive with seemingly silent inevitability. As usual, McMurtry's narrative unfolds slowly, as the reader is gradually introduced to time, place, and people; yet the plot is consistently engrossing, and McMurtry's revisionist vision of frontier life is always compelling. --Jay Freeman
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780684807546 McMurtry returns to reliable form in this follow-up to Dead Man's Walk (1995) that serves as a second prequel to his Texas epic Lonesome Dove (1985). As the great Comanche warrior Buffalo Hump slowly succumbs to weakness and old age, a younger generation both of Texans and Comanches rises to power. Buffalo Hump's son, Blue Duck, breaks away from his father to form a band of renegades who prefer the Texans' guns to the bow and arrow and their own whims to traditional ways. Events are set in motion by the theft of a great warhorse belonging to Harvard-educated adventurer and Texas ranger, Captain Inish Scull. The thief, a Comanche, resolves to undertake a mad display of heroism by presenting the animal to the Mexican warlord Ahumado (the ``Black Vaquero'') renowned for the creative methods of torture he visits on anyone foolish enough to cross him. Captain Scull, unhinged by the incident, sets off in pursuit and falls into Ahumado's hands. A brutal Comanche raid on Austin at the same time spurs the rise of two tough, bright, experienced young rangers: affable, whiskey- and whore-obsessed Augustus McCrae, who's nevertheless steadfast in his devotion to Clara Forsythe, an independent-minded shopkeeper who breaks his heart by marrying a more stable man; and dour, sensible, lethal Woodrow Call, who can't quite bring himself to acknowledge his illegitimate son or marry the sweet-natured prostitute with whom he has a longstanding relationship. The two battle-hardened friends sort out their troubles with women, tangle with the Comanches and Ahumado, and quietly become (reluctant) legends on the frontier. While the last third turns workmanlike in its efforts to set up the opening situation of Lonesome Dove, McMurtry nevertheless delivers a generally fine tableau of western life, full of imaginative exploits, convincing historical background, and characters who are alive. (Book-of-the-Month Club main selection/Literary Guild alternate selection/Quality Paperback Book Club selection)
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780671577308 If you've ever wondered what happened between Dead Man's Walk and Lonesome Dove, here's your chance to find out. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780684807546 This prequel to the classic Lonesome Dove (LJ 7/85) follows Woodrow Call and Augustus McCrae through their years as Texas Rangers as they create legends for themselves fighting the Comanche to open west Texas for settlement. For 15 years, the Rangers play cat-and-mouse games with Buffalo Hump, Kicking Wolf, and other chiefs as they pursue, attack, and retaliate their way through the Comanche wars. Ironically, Blue Duck, Gus McCrae's nemesis in Lonesome Dove, is Buffalo Hump's son, carrying on the tradition started by his father, even though father and son hated one another. Considered together, Dead Man's Walk (LJ 4/15/95), Comanche Moon, and Lonesome Dove create a monumental work that has few equals in current literature. Essential for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/97; a Comanche Moon mini-series is in the works.]?Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
 
1998 (Best Juvenile)
Danger Along the Ohio
Book Jacket   Patricia Willis
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780395770443 Gr. 4^-7. When Shawnee Indians raid the settlement where their flatboat is moored, 13-year-old Amos and his younger sister and brother free the craft and escape, not knowing whether their father has survived. Forced to land on the Shawnee side of the river after a flaming arrow sets the boat afire, they head for Marietta, Ohio, where they hope to meet their father. On the way, they save an injured Shawnee boy and are captured by warriors from his tribe. Eventually, they learn that they have less to fear from Red Moccasin and his kin than they believed, and Amos finds the courage to "plant a seed of friendship." In this fast-paced adventure, Willis successfully re-creates the anti-Indian prejudice of 1795 when white easterners fought to settle Ohio. --Chris Sherman
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780395770443 A bracing work of historical fiction makes an unfriendly place of the Ohio riverfront as three children fight for their lives. In May 1793 the motherless Dunn family--Papa, Amos, Clara, and Jonathan--have almost completed their long trek from eastern Pennsylvania to the place where they hope to make a new life, the Ohio frontier. Amos, 13, is particularly anxious to start over; his memory of a terrible event and his subsequent guilt can be assuaged only in a new place. When the riverboat that is to carry the family to Marietta is ambushed by Indians, a terrible battle ensues, and in the confusion, the boat goes adrift, carrying the Dunn children down river. A second Indian attack causes them to abandon the boat and they land on the north shore of the Ohio River. Their only course is to walk to Marietta, following the river. Along the way, Amos spots a boy clinging to a floating log, and rescues him. He is an Indian boy, barely alive from a gunshot wound, and the children start to nurse him back to health. Still ahead for them: They are taken prisoner by a band of Shawnee, and need to reach Marietta, hoping to see their father again. Willis (Out of the Storm, 1995, etc.) has created a rousing adventure; it will have readers turning the pages and rooting for the spunky Dunn kids all the way. (Fiction. 9-12)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780395770443 Fiction: I Amos and his siblings are separated from their father during an Indian attack as they travel the Ohio River in 1793. The survival story moves quickly, but sentimental subplots mixed with romanticized views of Native people weaken the tale: Amos befriends a Shawnee boy after saving his life, thinks that if kidnapped and adopted by the Indians he'll be able to forget a tragedy he caused, and finally finds peace with the help of a sage old Indian. Horn Rating: Marginal, seriously flawed, but with some redeeming quality. Reviewed by: jmb (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780395770443 Gr 4-7?Willis combines the suspense of a page-turner, the danger level of a thriller, the fascination of a survival story, and the ease of a hi/lo vocabulary. In 1793, three siblings (Amos, 13; Clara, 12; Jonathan, 7) are separated from their father during their immigration, via flatboat, down the Ohio River from their Pennsylvania home to a new beginning in the Ohio wilderness. After an Indian attack, the three are left with no adult support, scant supplies, no transportation, and a cow in tow to journey along the dangerous Shawnee side of the Ohio to the safety of the Marietta settlement. Readers will recognize the breathless pace they've loved in action movies, defined by the eruption of a new crisis on the heels of each crisis resolution, as the siblings struggle against the odds: scavenging food; stealing fire from the Indians; whittling tools for catching supper; rescuing a young Shawnee from drowning; and treating wounds with chickweed and birch leaves. The author's sturdy plot advances distinctly and chronologically, resulting in pure suspense. She keeps her vocabulary action-oriented and her dialogue straightforward. The young Shawnee's presence raises intriguing philosophical questions regarding the nature of communication and the components of true friendship. After all of this, who could complain about a contrived happy ending??Liza Bliss, Worcester Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
1996 (Western Novel)
Blood of Texas
Book Jacket   Will Camp
 
1996 (Novel of the West)
Sierra
 Richard Wheeler
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. Ulysses McQueen's life in 1846 Iowa seems fine: a productive farm, a lovely wife, kids, and comfort. But Ulysses wants gold not comfort. So he's off to California, leaving behind a pregnant wife. Stephen Jarvis, on the other hand, has the gold rush dumped in his lap. A native New Yorker, he musters out of the army in California with a few dollars in his pocket. What follows is a rich tale of two men, their lives, their dreams, and the settling of California. Wheeler, as he did in Goldfield , re-creates the American frontier in fascinating detail, populates it with engaging characters, and, in the process, manages to personalize the great period of western expansion. We experience the adventure of the gold rush, but we also feel its undertow: families left behind and never seen again, love lost, fortunes not made. A wonderfully multifaceted portrayal of pioneer life. (Reviewed Sept. 1, 1996)0312861850Wes Lukowsky
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780312861858 With varying results, two young men seek their fortunes in California after America's successful war against Mexico--in another solid historical from the prolific Wheeler (Cashbox, l994, etc.). When, in the spring of 1849, Ulysses McQueen (not yet 21) leaves his Iowa farm and pregnant wife Susannah to hunt for gold in faraway California, he endures a series of soul-testing hardships on the unsparing overland route to El Dorado. Robbed of his mules and gear by marauding Indians, menaced by brigands and disease, he still presses on. Meantime, Stephen Jarvis, an ex-Army officer, decides to try his luck on the West Coast. Hired as casual labor by Johann August Sutter, he's on site when gold is discovered near a sawmill being built by the Swiss émigré. Stephen soon strikes it rich and uses his new wealth to start retailing scarce tools and other goods to eager prospectors, yearning all the while for Rita Concepcion Estrada, a like-minded but well-born Mexican girl whose proud Catholic family wants no part of a Protestant Yanqui. As Stephen is making a name for himself among the merchant princes of Sacramento and San Francisco, Ulysses finally reaches California. Failing to hit pay dirt, he makes a deal for land in the San Joaquin Valley with Stephen, who's interested in developing local sources of fresh vegetables. Unbeknownst to Ulysses, Susannah has arrived in California by way of Panama (a journey that cost their infant daughter her life). The two finally find each other in 1851 and resolve to make a fresh start by returning to their agricultural roots. And at the 11th hour, Stephen's Latin ladylove kicks over the traces and that new pair sail off to make a new life for themselves in South America. Absorbing and eventful, replete with authoritative details on the mortal risks, primitive conditions, and sometimes rich rewards awaiting those who joined the gold rush to California.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312861858 Ulysses McQueen leaves his wife on the family farm in Iowa to seek his fortune in the California gold rush just as Steven Jarvis is mustered out of the army in booming Monterey. After a grueling cross-country trek, McQueen sets about grubbing in the dust near Sutter's Mill, while Jarvis turns to the mercantile trade. McQueen pines for his wife but postpones writing her until his fortune is assured, while Jarvis becomes a workaholic after he is denied the love of his life. Their paths cross in the frenzy of gold fever as the destitute McQueen proposes farming on Jarvis's land to provide fresh produce for the starving miners. Love finds both men as well. Wheeler has a long list of novels of the West to his credit (e.g., Goldfield, Forge, 1995) and is a real master at capturing the history, atmosphere, and romance of 1850s California. This will appeal to readers of Westerns and general fiction alike. Recommended.?Susan Gene Clifford, Palos Verdes Library District, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
...More
  Book Jacket
1996 (Best Juvenile)
Far North
 Will Hobbs
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. 9780688141929 Stranded in an uninhabited area of Canada's Northwest Territories, two teenagers and an old Indian hunter face a winter so brutal residents call it ``The Hammer.'' Gabe, 15, has come to boarding school in Yellow Knife to be nearer his oilman father. When his taciturn Athapaskan roommate, Raymond, quits school to fly back to his village, Gabe goes along. A spur-of-the- moment trip to see spectacular Virginia Falls turns into disaster when plane and pilot are swept away. Gabe and Raymond are left with a small cache of survival gear, plus a third passenger, Raymond's great-uncle, Johnny Raven, to keep them alive. Johnny teaches his two charges rudimentary survival skills, then finds them an old cabin in which to hole up before he dies. Weeks and repeated brushes with death later, the destruction of their food supply by a grizzly bear forces them into a grueling trek to Raymond's home. Although Hobbs (Beardance, 1993, etc.) doesn't write with the immediacy or meticulous attention to detail that Gary Paulsen brings to Brian's Winter (1996) or its prequel, Hatchet (1987), he summons plenty of uncontrived danger for his characters to face both foolishly and heroically. The conflict between modern and traditional ways is pervasive, as Raymond, a misfit in both worlds, struggles to find out who he is. (Fiction. 10-13)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780688141929 Fiction: O A routine sightseeing flight ends in disaster in the Northwest Territories, stranding fifteen-year-old Gabe; Raymond, an Athabaskan Indian from a remote village; and Raymond's ailing great-uncle, the only one of the trio with any real survival skills. What follows is a thrill-a-minute account of their struggle. Deeper issues are addressed, including the contrast between Gabe's culture and Raymond's, and between Raymond's and his uncle's cultures. Horn Rating: Superior, well above average. Reviewed by: mmb (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780688141929 Gr. 7^-12. After their plane and its pilot plunge over a thundering falls, 15-year-old Gabe, his DeneIndian boarding-school roommate Raymond, and the elderly DeneJohnny Raven are left stranded in the Canadian wilderness. The expected occurs: the wise old man calls on his deeply rooted knowledge of the land to keep the tiny group alive, leaving the boys to battle nature alone when he dies. You know Gabe survives, because he's telling the story, and as with many books in this genre, the characters (especially Johnny Raven, who's a total stereotype) are subordinated to the setting and action. Whether describing the burning of Johnny's corpse on a funeral pyre or depicting a battle with a bear, Hobbs drafts the events at just the right pace and with extraordinary detail. So, although this may be standard stuff, Hobbs' strong, sure hand ensures that it's never dull. --Stephanie Zvirin
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780688141929 Gr 5 Up?From the compelling cover illustration to the terrifying and plausible details, this survival adventure clearly demonstrates the author's love for and familiarity with the northern wilderness. Gabe, 15, formerly of San Antonio, enrolls in a boarding school in Canada's Northwest Territories to be closer to his father, an oil field worker. Gabe's likable but depressed roommate, Raymond, is an Athapascan Indian. A map helps readers follow along as circumstances involving a plane crash leave the teens and Johnny Raven, an elder from Raymond's village, stranded with minimal supplies as winter hardens. The plotting is fast paced and action filled as the teens' cultures clash, and as they struggle against the cold, blizzards, isolation, starvation, injury, a wolverine, grizzly bear, and Johnny's death before finally reaching safety. The weakest elements of the book may be the sermonlike "testament" the boys find in Johnny's pocket after his death, and the thread of mythic raven lore that is mentioned, then given up before becoming a major element again. Quibbles aside, with echoes as old as Jean Craighead George's classic My Side of the Mountain (Dutton, 1988) and reverberations from Paulsen and Phleger, this satisfying tale will engage YAs' hearts and minds.?Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780380725366 This winter survival tale "delivers breathless action and an inspiring sense of Canada's vast landscape," said PW. Ages 10-14. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780688141929 Those insatiable fans of Hatchet are the likeliest audience for this winter survival tale, which weds its adventure-seeking thrills to education about Dene Indian culture. Fifteen-year-old Gabe, a Texan, enrolls in a boarding school in Canada's Northwest Territories to be near his father, whose love of the wilderness has become infectious. But Gabe gets more than he bargained for when an airplane accident leaves him and his roommate Raymond, a Dene, stranded near the fierce Nahanni River at the start of a long winter. Guided by their fellow survivor Johnny Raven, a Dene elder, Gabe and Raymond learn to hunt beavers, trap rabbits and make snowshoes and mittens from animal hide. More significantly, they learn respect for ancient Dene beliefs. When Raven dies of the cold, the two boys must struggle out of Deadmen Valley on their own. Predictably sentimental, Hobbs's (Beardance) fast-moving tale nonetheless delivers breathless action and an inspiring sense of Canada's vast landscape. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
...More
  Book Jacket
 

Back