Reading the West 8-2-10
Summer is moving into what are usually the Dog Days – a hot period in August when it’s sometimes hard to get all the work done as there are crops and gardens to harvest, kids to get ready to return to school, fairs to attend, and even vacations to squeeze in before fall arrives. But perhaps you all will find time to sit down with a book. Here are a few suggestions for recent, new fiction:
In “Rattler” (Kensington Publishing, $5.99), Barry Chambers tells the story of Randy Foster, an agent of The Service, an off-shoot of the U.S. Marshals, who arrives in Clearview, Kan., on an assignment that has him trying to solve murders while protecting a girl.
Alex Cord in “A Feather in the Rain” (Five Star Publications, Inc., $24.95), uses a true incident as the basis for this book in which Jesse Burrell buries his son, and then, determined to never again experience the heartache of loss, this trail-hardened cowboy chose a self-imposed lonely existence.
In the mid-1800s, young James Kennedy escapes the famines in Ireland, takes to the high seas, and travels to the new world in “The Golden Amulet” (Unlimited Publishing, $14.99) by Mark Engebretson. Kennedy endures a rough immigrant life on the Boston waterfront before he is framed for murder and leaves New England to seek his fortune farther west in Texas.
A valiant woman, courageous horses, cunning horse thieves, and a handsome bronc rider intertwine in “Stormy the Barrel Horse” by Ralph Galeano (Horseman’s Press, $16.95) and novel of horses and the people who work, train and compete on them.
In 1894, 17-year-old Leah Clayborn arrives in Horse Flats, Neb. Orphaned and accustomed to genteel life in Ohio, she’s unprepared for the rough, chaotic life on her mysterious uncle’s cattle ranch. “Come Green Grass” by Maxine Isackson (Nebraska Print Works, $15.95) is the first of the Sandhill Trilogy followed by “Prairie Wind” and “Shifting Sand.”
The collected tales – some taller than others – in “Hotter ‘n Pecos and Other West Texas Lies” by Bobby D. Weaver (Texas Tech University Press, $19.95) offer revealing glimpses into how and why West Texans are different. All these yarns contain a grain of truth, and some of them actually happened just as related. You’ll find humor, a few that are relatively serious, and some that are totally outrageous. The book includes a forward by Barry Corbin and illustrations by Roy “Boots” Reynolds.
If the measure of a writer is longevity, then Norman Zollinger is one of the best. Forge has republished his Spur Award winning “Riders to Cibola,” a decade after Norman’s death, no doubt introducing this exceptional writer to a new generation of readers.