Saturday, August 23, 2008

“Hard Trail to Follow” by Elmer Kelton

Hard Trail to Follow” by Elmer Kelton
2007, A Forge Book
ISBN: 978-0-7653-1522-9

I have a particular fondness for Westerns, though it’s been awhile since I read one. “Hard Trail to Follow” by Elmer Kelton was the absolutely perfect Western. I had never read anything by Mr. Kelton before and this was just one of those books where I let Spirit guide me in the library. I'm really glad I did too. This is an absolutely terrific book. I’m looking forward to reading others by Elmer Kelton. He's written a bunch of them.

Andy Pickard was a Texas Ranger in earlier days. Not now, though. His life was steering towards marriage, rough scrabble farming and a brother-in-law he absolutely could not stand. He was trying real hard to get along with Farley because he did love Bethel, but she was of a mind to stay near by her mother who was on her death bed. Who wasn’t budging from the farm was Farley, Bethel’s brother and Andy’s future brother-in-law. Those two went way back and Farley and Andy had even been Texas Rangers together in the past. But, they grated on each other’s nerves then and they grated on each other’s nerves now.

What changed everything was a bad guy who wasn’t really a bad guy and this is where the story took off. Luther Cordell had hooked up with a crew of two others; one bad through and through, the other just a young guy gone off on the wrong foot. Luther ends up in jail with the loot from a bank robbery and Milt, the really bad guy comes for him. The young one, Buster, ends up getting shot.

This is a really nice story of the searching for a bad guy who the Texas Ranger, Andy, realizes as things wind along isn’t a bad guy anymore.

You will like this novel. And, it is a love story too. It’s not mushy. You wouldn’t expect that from a Western. It’s just right.

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