I’ve read a few westerns over the years (likely more than most but less than a true western aficionado) but I believe that this is the first book I’ve read by Luke Short – a name in the western genre that I recognize from my days as a bookseller.
This story gets underway when a local postmaster sees a letter addressed to one ‘Dave Coyle’. Coyle is wanted, dead or alive, and the wanted posters are plastered all over the town of Yellow Jacket, as well as many other nearby communities. If somebody’s writing to him here, it can only mean he’s on his way, and if that’s true, trouble is sure to follow. But Coyle isn’t looking for trouble, but for Carol McFee – the only woman who ever believed in him. Every man in town now knows he’s on his way and is itching for the $7000 reward. Can Coyle get in and out without drawing attention – or lead?
I enjoyed Luke Short’s writing. It is crisp and sharp and it paints a picture of the west much like that of Louis L’Amour and other popular western authors. Short’s story, on the other hand, rambles a bit and there were actually times when I wasn’t sure who I was supposed to be rooting for and who was the current villain. Some of that is by design, of course. Short is trying to weave a bit of mystery here and is showing us that all is not as it might seem.
A strong story of mistaken identity or villain wrongly-accused or criminal with a heart of gold is nice to have, but this one comes across as an author who wasn’t sure where the story was going to lead and skims across a bunch of possibilities before settling in and closing down.
I look forward to reading some more Luke Short, but this particular title didn’t ‘wow’ me.
Looking for a good book? Hardcase, by Luke Short, is a western that rambles a little more than it should and instead of a tightly woven work, we get a bit of a mess.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Luke Short
publisher: Open Road Media
Kindle Edition, 177 pages