A young U.S. Marshal sorts out a culture clash with bullets and brains in this wild, winning western.
Things are too quiet for Deputy U.S. Marshal Merlin Fanshaw, a lanky young lawman cut from the Jimmy Stewart mold, who was first introduced in The Bodacious Kid (1995). Montana is just emerging from the bitterly harsh winter of 1886, and Dry Creek has been a remarkably uneventful place. When Fanshaw’s mentor, Chance Ridgeway, sends him on a mission to support a town marshal in faraway Medicine Lodge, he jumps at the chance for some action. Lynde–who was raised on the Crow Indian Reservation, where these fictional events unfold–has a great appreciation and sensitivity for the Native-American tribes in the area. He offers many compelling, perceptive insights into the minor war brewing between the county’s rich white men, represented by a corrupt cattle baron, and a band of renegade Crow Indians, led by the fierce warrior, Archie Young Bull. Keeping the peace is tough enough in a town full of side arms and whiskey, but Fanshaw’s troubles are multiplied when his partner, town marshal Jeff Brown, is framed for murder, and he falls for Bonnie Jo Hutchins, a widow who may have secrets to hide. The story is comprised of a comfortable, familiar mix of western Americana, cinematic gunfights and a little sex, but more importantly, the author creates a solid, believable character in Marshal Fanshaw. His pleasant, genuine narration, tinged with both wit and grit, carries the narrative, and the authenticity, country humor and vibrant characters all make for a warmly entertaining read.
Satisfying western fare, in the vein of Louis L’Amour.