Sunday, June 8, 2014

What's new in Western Fiction?

I've been hearing about the decline of the Western genre for twenty years now, but westerns remain popular with readers who enjoy immersing themselves in another place and time. They are stories about pioneers who brought their sense of order to the land and forged the way for more settlers to follow. Traditional westerns have a good vs bad mentality, while more modern novels embrace the complexities of the historical perspective and are sometimes set in the modern era. For fans of Western Fiction, here are some recently published novels.

Many western series by popular authors continue to be published after the author's death. Massacre Canyon by William W. Johnstone is a part of the Family Jensen series and was written by J.A. Johnstone. "Two outlaw brothers have been leaving a blood-trail on their way to infamy on the western frontier. Until bounty hunter Luke Jensen catches one of the black-hearted Kroll brothers away from his gang. But while Luke is trying to get Mordecai Kroll from jail to justice, he's ambushed by the Kroll gang and taken prisoner. " publisher

Ambush Valley by Dusty Richards "Chet Byrnes has his hands full taking care of his family and running his ranching operation in Arizona Territory. But he still takes his responsibilities as a deputy U.S. marshal very seriously. Bandits have been crossing the border, cutting a bloody swath of mayhem—stealing horses, robbing banks, and murdering innocent folk—then high-tailing it back to safety in Mexico." Richards has also written for the Ralph Compton Trail Drive series.

Michael McGarrity's novels take place in New Mexico and and feature officer Kevin Kerney. Exploring the Kerney family'd past in Backlands he "continues the story of Patrick Kerney; his ex-wife, Emma; and their young son, Matthew, shortly after the tragic battlefield death of their eldest son, CJ, at the end of World War I. Scarred by the loss of an older brother he idolized, estranged from a father he barely knows, and deeply troubled by the failing health of a mother he adores, eight-year-old Matthew is suddenly and irrevocably forced to set aside his childhood and take on responsibilities far beyond his years." publisher

From Canadian writer Sean Johnston is Listen All You Bullets which looks to Jack Schaefer's 1949 novel Shane. "tells the story of a young boy named Billy who is trapped on a hardscrabble North Dakota ranch with his lonely mother and his wheelchair-bound father. In the main thread of the novel, Billy’s family are visited by a traveling bookseller a year after the gunslinger Shane’s disappearance. A second thread follows a young Metis girl named Marie as she leaves her home in Saskatchewan in the 1930s. A third thread presents a sort of ideal reader who offers comments on the text in draft form many years later. Listen All You Bullets is about resistance, and the human impulse to hope in the midst of violence and distortion." publisher

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