Tag Archives: western

Review of Noose, by Eric Red

I won a copy of Noose, by Eric Red, through Goodreads.


In the cutthroat world of bounty hunters, Joe Noose is as honest as they come. Which isn’t saying much. Just look at his less-than-honest colleagues. They framed Joe for a murder they committed. They made sure Joe’s face wound up on a wanted poster. Now they’re gonna hunt Joe down and collect the reward money. There’s just one problem: Joe Noose thinks it’s his bounty. It’s his reward. And it’s their funeral . . . 


I’ll admit that I don’t read Westerns very often, almost never. So, I’m probably not a great judge of the genre. But in terms of judging a book…this one simply isn’t very good. It’s very linear, in that this happens and this happens and then this happens, with no red herrings, branches, subplots or anything to break up the straight, obvious path of the plot. It’s essentially one long chase/gun battle. 

Further, there is no grey in the characters to make them interesting. The bad guys are BAD GUYS (often even referred to as the bad men). They murder, and rape, and abuse their horses, and have poor hygiene to boot. The good guys are GOOD GUYS. They’re honest, and heroic and clean. There are exactly two women in the book. They both have pert titties and lush bottoms…and not much else, certainly not any notable sense. Even Bess, who is supposed to be strong and brave is oblivious to the obvious and reduced to a simpering child in need of rescue by the end. 

Then there is the writing. Mechanically it’s fine. But it grated on my nerves. The characters were almost never called by name. They were ‘the cowboy,’ ‘the bounty killers’ (Yes, bounty killers, not bounty hunters. Wouldn’t want us to forget they are THE BAD ONES), ‘the female marshal’ (Yes, female marshal. Not just marshal because wouldn’t want us to forget that she’s female most of all.), ‘the female criminal’ (Yep, she’s female too.), etc. etc. The river is never just the river. It’s the Snake River every time it’s referred to. Never-mind that I’m not likely to have forgotten which river it is or expect it to have changed. The horse is given an oddly anthropomorphized POV. The whole book is repetitive, using the same words to describe things again and again. And Red has a strange attachment to couples in his adjectives. No one is a big man. He’s a big, broad man–two adjectives and a noun, over and over again.

Review of The Buntline Special (Weird West Tales #1), by Mike Resnick

The Buntline SpecialI borrowed The Buntline Special, by Mike Resnick, from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Welcome to a West like you’ve never seen before, where electric lights shine down on the streets of Tombstone, while horseless stagecoaches carry passengers to and fro, and where death is no obstacle to The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo. Think you know the story of the O.K. Corral? Think again, as five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western tale, and the West will never be the same.

Ermahgerd, was that book ever dull. I mean boring to the boringth degree! The writing is fine, if stark, but simply nothing happens. It’s all talk, talk, talk—let me describe these anachronistic inventions to you, invitations to drinks and meals, greetings, threats and ‘I’m not afraid to die’ or ‘I’m already dying’ quips—talk, talk, talk and very little actual doing, even less actual narrative and/or development. I suppose Resnick figured we all know who Earp, Holliday and Ringo are so no need to develop their character. And the poor women, they aren’t even alive if you judge by their characterization, just faceless whores that range from wholly human, half-human or not human. But they’re all pretty interchangeably unimportant. Ugh. My library has two more of this series, but I won’t be bothering with them.

Review of End of the Trail (End Of The Trail #1), by Jane Elliot

End of the TrailI downloaded a copy of Jane Elliot‘s End of the Trail from the Amazon free list.

Description from Goodreads:
Will Connors is struggling to hold together a failing farm; his wife has died, his son has gone, he’s not without enemies and he’s dealing with the after-effects of a debilitating accident. It’s a life of toil which doesn’t allow for very much pleasure, and he’s in danger of becoming embittered until a chance acquaintance wanders back into his life and everything begins to change. The problem, however, is that John Anderson has a price on his head – and, very soon, Will and John find themselves desperately concealing more than one dangerous secret.

Wow, I can honestly say I did not expect to like this as much as I did. It’s a wonderfully slow, angst free, subtle, Gay For You story and I very much enjoyed it. I liked the way it was situated in the time period. I liked the way Will still desperately loved his wife and missed his son. (Women are so often poorly presented in MM and that wasn’t the case here.) I appreciated the way sex wasn’t gratuitous, in either frequency or scope. These men didn’t suddenly start going at it like rabbits just because they were snowed in together. They had to learn to work around Will’s gimp leg, for example. I loved the way each man had his own personality and quirks. John and those chickens, for example. There was a lot to love in this book.

I did think the way John found to do good and contribute toward his redemption was a little sappy and unrealistic. I would have expected that sort of thing to take a year or more to set up, not a few weeks. Also, there wasn’t any real excitement. Everything kind of plods along nicely, but anyone looking for an action-packed read would be disappointed.

All-in-all, it was a great feel-good read and I’ll be looking for the sequel, as well as more of Jane Elliot’s work.