THE LAND OF THE LONG SHADOW by Oliver Lange

THE LAND OF THE LONG SHADOW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another likable but unfocused novel of folksy eccentricity by the author of last year's Next of Kin. Roy Aldous Gutierrez--a 56-year-old giant of mixed blood (white, Indian, Watusi)--gives up his El Paso job as a kiln man with Acme Novelties and takes off to Sawmill River Flats, a ghost town his father bought in bits and parcels: it's a 640-acre, one-square mile lot bordering Lincoln National Forest. But Roy soon learns that Eastern entrepreneur Neil Larson wants to revamp the ghost town into a Disneyland-ish historical amusement park (Roy will resist these plans, despite a $300,000 offer); meanwhile, too, a guy named Potts wants to have the town designated an official historical site; and there's trouble with ""Billy-Evil,"" a crippled cowboy/ladykiller (with some odd transvestite leanings). . . who tends to burn down buildings in the ghost town. So Roy has to deal with all these problems, while brooding on his feeling of being a pariah and on memories (of his father, of Walter Kelly, a 106-year-old chum who died recently). And he has to deal with old flame Rae, a footloose beauty who arrives at the ghost town after an illness--with revelations about the past and dreams for the future. Rich in atmosphere and human-nature observation, but--with its long, rambling, heavy-on-dialogue style--slow and lacking in dramatic thrust; those who enjoyed Next of Kin will find lots to mosey through here, while admirers of Lange's earlier, suspenseful books (Red Snow, Vandenberg) will be disappointed.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1981
Publisher: Seaview--dist. by Harper & Row