Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Action in East Texas at the turn of the 20th Century

Sixteen-year-old Jack Parker has seen his parents die of the smallpox epidemic and his grandfather killed by an outlaw. When the outlaw kidnapped Jack's fourteen-year-old sister, he couldn't let the outlaws get away with it. He's determined to rescue her and his actions reminded me of Huckleberry Finn. There is a comparison to Mark Twain in Joe R. Lansdale's writing.

Action takes place in East Texas at the turn of last century. We follow Jack's narrative and his amazement with some of the new advances such as the telephone and automobile.

Jack has a group of men who agree to go after the outlaws. He has land from his parents and grandfather and offers that as an incentive. Among the characters who accompany Jack is a black man who was a grave digger, a dwarf who had been in the circus, a whore, and a sheriff who had been a bounty hunter. The men are also accompanied by a hog and this reminded me of the piglets who followed the cattle drive in "Lonesome Dove."

They follow the trail of the outlaws and one of the outlaws, Fatty Worth, has escaped from jail and is on the trail to join the outlaw gang. This man is a cold blooded killer who was reminiscent of Blue Duck from "Lonesome Dove" in the multitude and heartlessness of the people he meets along the trail and kills.

Along the way, Jack's friends talk about their past adventures and in this manner we learn of Shorty's meeting Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley among other notables of history. This adds to the interest in the story.

The Thicket is a wooded area where the outlaws are hiding. This area is populated by murderous men and when peaceful people try to exist among them, many of the law abiding people are killed.

The story moves along swiftly with images of  Texas and life in a wild area at a momentous time in history.

Recommended.


6 comments:

Sana Khan said...


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Tracy Terry said...

Not a period in history I know much about. This sounds like an interesting read, thank you.

Michael Draper said...

thanks for your comments, Sana.

Tracy,
I enjoy that period of the turn of the 20th century. Since I'm a senior citizen and my parents lived a long life, I think they would have gone through thoughts of the new innovations with the new century. I'd love to be able to look over their shoulders but with books I kind of get the same feeling.

Kelly said...

I think I would enjoy the location and time period of this one. And what an interesting group of folks in the story!

Mary Kirkland said...

Nice review. Thanks for stopping by my blog and reading my guest review.

Michael Draper said...

Hi Kelly and Mary,
Thanks for your comments and for visiting my blog. I appreciate the time to take to visit and your reaction to my review.
Mike