Sunday, September 2, 2012

Five Darn Tooting Good Westerns

Booklist recently posted a list of the top western novels of the last two years. The list was compiled by RA guru Bill Ott and it contains a mix of both traditional westerns and genre blenders alike.

Here are five titles from that roundup that are currently available in our collection:

Ambush Creek
by Phil Dunlap

When a U.S. Marshall is asked by the Cochise Sheriff to look into the suspicious activity of three unsavory bounty hunters, he rides into what looks like a battle's aftermath, with bullet holes riddling a ranch house, but no sign of those engaged in the gunplay.

"With a raft of well-drawn, even indelible, characters, the novel also offers a compellingly involved, quite plausible, and tightly woven plot.
" - Booklist

Bohemian Girl (M)
by Teresa Svoboda

Young Harriet's father sells her as a slave to settle his gambling debt with an eccentric Indian - and her story is just beginning. Part Huck Finn, part True Grit, Harriet's story of her encounter with the dark and brutal history of the American West is a true original. When she escapes the strange mound-building obsession of her Pawnee captor, Harriet sets off on a trek to find her father, only to meet with ever-stranger characters and situations along the way.

"Creating a western world as raucous and unpredictable as any imagined by Larry McMurtry, and teeming with characters as tragically heroic as those created by Willa Cather, Svoboda offers a vividly distinctive tale of the American frontier." - Booklist

A Congregation of Jackals (M)
by Craig S. Zahler

A Deadly Reunion. The telegram sent a cold chill down Oswell Danford's spine. It's an invitation to a wedding, but it might very well turn out to be his funeral. All of his old bank-robbing gang will be there - including one former ally, now a bitter enemy out for blood, Quinlan. He and his gunmen will be at the wedding and ready for a final showdown. Oswell knows there's no way out of it. You can't outrun your past. All you can do is face it -- and hope to survive.

"...a true original turns up that is wholly in the genre mainstream
but that brings a thoroughly modern perspective to the familiar archetypal trappings. ...a noir western of uncommon power." Booklist

The Doctor and the Kid: a weird west tale (M)
by Mike Resnick

Doc Holliday needs to replenish his bankroll quickly and uses his skill as a shootist to turn bounty hunter. The biggest reward is for the death of Billy the Kid. Doc enlists the aid of both magic (Geronimo) and science (Thomas Edison).

"A mad mixture of steampunk and magic set in an alternate Wild West, this is hugely entertaining and should please fans of sf and westerns.
" -Booklist

South by Southwest: a western story (M)
by Johnny D. Boggs

The only way to escape the purgatory of the Florence Stockade was to die. So on February 3, 1865, Zebulon Hogan died and was buried in the prisoner's cemetery. It was young Ebenezer Chase, a runaway slave, who saw his hand clawing out of the dirt over the shallow grave. Zeb has a mission far beyond escape: he's sworn an oath to the other prisoners to hunt and kill a traitorous sergeant. Zeb's problem is that he knows nothing of the surrounding country. But Ebenezer does. By joining forces, they both may get where they want to go.

"This is a real winner; recommend it confidently not only to mainstream genre fans but also to those who prefer the more literary, less formulaic brand of western.
" -Booklist

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