Another triumph in the genre: Kelton, author of some 40 novels, holds a record seven Spur Awards.



Sixth and final (we think) entry in the Texas Rangers saga by Kelton.

Texas Vendetta (2004) brought into the 1870s the story begun in 1861 with The Buckskin Line (1999), when the raggle-taggle first Texas Rangers of Mexican Texas protected landowners from marauding Indians. The Indians are peaceful or gone now, but the Rangers still have business protecting Mexican-Americans from Texas-Americans and vice versa. Kelton starts out this time with immense laugh-out-loud humor, but phrases soon arise with cloudy hints that maybe it’s time for Ranger Andy Pickard, now 25, to pack in his badge (though a Ranger has no badge, unless he makes one for himself) and turn to thoughts of homesteading with Bethel Brackett. As it happens, he’s thrown in with fellow Ranger Farley Brackett, Bethel’s loutish, Mexican-hating brother, and with motormouth Len Tanner, and is posted to the still disputatious border country along the Rio Grande, where raids on each other’s stock are common between Texans and Mexicans. Along the way to their new post, the trio is bushwhacked for their horses but manage to drive off their attackers, killing one. The thieves, led by Burt Hatton, later bury their dead member, the hotheaded young nephew of the wife of their boss, cattleman (and rustler) Jericho Jackson. Jackson has a warning sign posted on his land: “This is Jericho’s road. Take the other.” He has fortified his ranch with a big wall, as in the story of Joshua in the Bible—and who will blow it down? Across the border in Mexico, Jericho’s rival is Guadalupe Chavez, who has a giant cattle ranch and rustles Jericho’s cattle, among others’. When Burt Hatton lies, telling Jericho that his wife’s hotheaded nephew was slain by Lupe Chavez, Jericho decides somehow to kill Chavez’s nephew, who works as a hand for Big Jim McCawley just north of the border. And so war erupts between Jericho and Chavez, with Rangers in the middle.

Another triumph in the genre: Kelton, author of some 40 novels, holds a record seven Spur Awards.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-765-30955-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2004

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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