Billy Pinto’s War.
By Michael Zimmer.
Apr. 2017. 231p. Five Star, $25.95 (9781432832285).
Billy Pinto, a sixteen-year-old, half-Shoshone Indian boy, finds
himself alone. His mother was murdered, and the racist court acquitted the three accused men. After waylaying and killing the three men
and kidnapping the judge’s granddaughter, Billy
heads for the Wyoming hills. What follows could
be a case study in racism, ineffective police work,
vigilantism, unthinking violence, revenge and
counter revenge, and wasted lives, all set in the
grandeur of the unspoiled Wyoming wilderness.
Author Zimmer has reproduced historical documents preserved from early first-hand recordings
to complete this work. The words are primarily
those of Sheriff Hudson Pratt, the lawman who
was central to the Billy Pinto case. Staying as true
to the original records as possible, Zimmer presents a readable and
entertaining story. Billy Pinto’s War will be most meaningful to those
who are prepared to seriously consider the cultural issues they are faced
with during the reading of the book. —Reg Quist
YA: Teen fans of westerns might be especially drawn to this novel’s
16-year-old protagonist. SH.
Destiny at Dry Camp.
By John D. Nesbitt.
Apr. 2017. 253p. Five Star, $25.95 (9781432834005).
A stranger approaching on the open range doesn’t alarm Whit Barrett, the young ranch hand who tells the story. Whit, 17, likes the look
of the man who introduces himself as Dunbar and so takes him to Dry
Camp, where his boss gives Dunbar a job. But when Dunbar interferes with a foreman who’s bullying a Creole named Wilbur, the man
fires both Dunbar and Whit. Dunbar hates injustice and cannot drop
the matter. Taking Whit along, he delves into Wilbur’s background
and uncovers a sinister motive not just for bullying but for two suspicious deaths. A deadly gun battle, staged by someone powerful, forces
Dunbar’s hand, and, in a violent denouement, he stops the killer—
permanently—and provides proof of the crimes. He leaves quietly,
with no good-byes. But the unspoken bond that develops between
the principled Dunbar and intelligent young Whit makes this western
memorable and gives it an original spin. —Jeanne Greene
YA: Teen readers who enjoy westerns will relate to Whit. RV.
By Howard Weinstein.
Sept. 2017. 310p. Five Star, $25.95 (9781432837648).
Reuben Landry’s promise of matrimonial bliss spiraled its way
downward from hope to drunkenness to murder. It took just a single
shot for Cara to lay her husband on the floor, bleeding his life away.
Left with two young sons, Cara decided to take over the saloon Reuben had foolishly traded their farm land for. Raising her sons among
gamblers, drunken cowboys, whores, and dust in the Texas of the
1850s was no easy matter, but Cara succeeded, after a fashion.
Galloway’s Gamble is more a collection of interwoven short stories than a
single tale. While Cara is the main protagonist, she slowly gives way
to her two sons, who grow to maturity among the characters, both
good and not so good, in the saloon, until the Civil War drives the
boys from home and into their many adventures. Weinstein weaves
those adventures into a readable story. A mixture of struggle, adventure, pathos, violence, and just a touch of humor, this read will
appeal to those who root for the underdog. —Reg Quist
The Grub Rider.
By James C. Work.
Apr. 2017. 286p. Five Star, $25.95 (9781432833954).
Work’s latest addition to his Keystone Ranch series is an entertaining
telling of the coming of age of one Gabe Allen. Gabe, wishing to “find
himself,” makes his way toward the ranch, determined to become a Keystone rider. Working for grub and a place to roll out his blankets, Gabe
slowly makes his way to Wyoming. Once at the ranch, he finds himself
serving a long apprenticeship in the kitchen. Finally, opportunity presents itself—challenged to accompany the severe Lady Townsend against
her wishes, the young man sets out to rescue the lady’s captive sister.
With faith in his as-yet-unproven abilities, Gabe leads the small cavalcade across pioneer Wyoming, meeting an unusual collection of rascals
and vagabonds along the way. Facing challenges head on, he finally arrives at the home ranch of the evil Rothaus. It is here that Lady Surrey is
held captive. Rescuing the lady and saving her ranch will be the biggest
test yet for Gabe. The reader will enjoy the adventures, along with Gabe,
in this well-written and unusual western. —Reg Quist
The Open Road.
By M. M. Holaday.
Apr. 2017. 445p. Five Star, $25.95 (9781432833947).
In this old-fashioned western tale, Jeb Dawson and Win Avery—as
close as brothers, as different as chalk and cheese—find new lives after
the Civil War. In 1865, Jeb’s parents, who gave Win the only love he
has known, are killed, and the young men, putting grief behind, head
West. They join forces with Meg Jameson, a skilled horsewoman, and
fall in love with her, but she treats them alike. Work with a coach line
draws them to Paradise, Colorado, where they have Arapaho friends,
but the line closes, leaving the men footloose again. Meg buys land to
raise horses, however, and Jeb stays on, while Win, apparently unready
to settle down, joins an expedition in Alaska. Life in Paradise goes on,
amid the battles between the government and Native Americans that
frame the story—but the plot sags until tragedy brings Win back to
Paradise ready to make a home of his own. —Jeanne Greene
River with No Bridge.
By Karen Wills.
June 2017. 304p. Five Star, $25.95 (9781432834012).
In 1884 Montana, Nora and Tade, both from loving Irish families,
have a home and a child. But Tade dies in a mining accident, and
soon, everyone Nora loves is gone. Pregnant after an affair with gam-
From the cover of Karen Wills’ River with No Bridge.