America’s most famous outlaw conjures up a Wild West fable about the Texas town he made up from scratch.
Musician Nelson partners up with novelist Blakely (Come Sundown, 2006, etc.) to craft this rootin’, tootin’ cowboy story, set in Luck, Texas. The town’s founding fathers are Captain Hank Tomlinson, former Texas Ranger and owner of the Broken Arrow Ranch, and Jack Brennan, the imposing, scar-faced owner of a competing firm. When Hank’s impetuous sons, Jay Blue and adoptee Skeeter Rodriguez, lose a prize Kentucky thoroughbred mare, they set off in hot pursuit of the horse, now running with a herd led by an unconquerable mustang known as the “Steel Dust Gray.” During their quest we meet the book’s most magnetic character, albino ex-slave Jubal Hayes, who communes with all manner of creatures. “I can even talk javalina, chachalaca, black bear and leopard cat. And I don’t speak no rattlesnake, but I do understand what they say,” he offers. Back in Luck, a storm is brewing over the murder of a cattle rustler named Wes James and the truth is winnowed out by Tomlinson and plucky saloon owner Flora Barlow. A resurrected outlaw from Tomlinson’s past brings the two ranches, a host of black hats and a Comanche war party into bloody conflict. How bad is it? “Well, we’re almost out of ammunition and we’ve got ninety-some-odd Comanches out there who want us all dead. Or worse,” Hank says.
An overflowing, hospitable story. Shakespeare it ain’t, but we didn’t expect it to be.