Thursday, February 5, 2015

the ghost of cowboys past

In California in the 1880s, former gunfighter, Tom Patterson is propositioned by a stranger to join him and make use of Patterson's gun. Patterson refuses and the man, Carl Parrish attempts to kidnap Patterson's wife as a persuasive measure but she outsmarts the men.

Patterson decides that he wants to find out about the scheme and who was the person they intended that he use his gun for. He becomes embroiled in a staged gun battle where a California rancher is the target. Later, it is learned that this rancher was a former Union officer who was responsible for a number of Texas cavalry men being the subject of a war crime. This comes out as a reason why Tom might have a long resentment for the rancher.

Patterson has to make his way away from the ranch and then dodge the lawmen after him until he can clear his name. Patterson's wife, Betty, has complete faith in her husband and when she hears that he's the subject of a man-hunt, she goes into action to help Tom and convince the local sheriff that there has to be more to the case than is apparent.

At first the sheriff isn't persuaded but Betty's faith in her husband and Tom's previous good name make the sheriff begin to have doubts about Tom's guilt.

There's not much not to like about Jerry S. Drake's latest novel. These are the days with railroads were big business and often acted with little regard to the common rancher. The book's fast paced action draws the reader into the story and its related story lines. The past history of the rancher and the negative reputation of the rancher come together to neatly tie a knot of innocence.

There is even a secondary plot of revenge concerning one of the conspirators.

I enjoyed the story and envisioned the return of John Wayne or Gary Cooper as Tom Patterson which increased the fun.

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