This was my first Loren D. Estleman book, and it most definitely will not be my last.
It is 1896 and Judge Harlan Blackthorne of Montana has passed away. He’d had a long career serving out justice in the Montana territory. His ‘go-to’ person at the Marshall’s office has been Page Murdock, who was working to clean up the territories, bringing back the lawless to face trial in Blackthorne’s court. Now Murdock has one last mission – to escort the judge’s body on the funeral train back to his home state of Delaware. As the train makes stops along the way, Murdock comes in contact with many others who were touched by Blackthorne’s life, giving opportunity for reflection.
This is the tenth book in the Page Murdock series and perhaps this was a strange place to start. It feels like a wrap-up, given all the reflection. And having not read any of the previous books in the series, I have no idea how important Judge Harlan was to the stories.
There is a larger story here – getting the body back to Delaware – and we never lose track of it and Estleman wraps this up very nicely. The sense of life in the ‘old west’ is expertly captured here and the death of an old west judge is a powerful metaphor for the dying ways of the old west which is also at the dawn of a new century. We can’t help but see that Murdock recognizes this change and meeting with people who had stories about Blackthorne have the Marshall wondering about his own future.
I found Estleman’s writing style comfortable and comforting. I very much looked forward to sitting down and reading this book. And while I have a suspicion there may not be many more to come, I do see that there are nine other books in this particular series that I will be looking for.
I don’t know why I haven’t read any Loren D. Estleman books prior to this as I’ve certainly been aware of him and he’s got a very long list of books and stories and awards to go with them all, but I’m glad to have the chance to read this.
Looking for a good book? Wild Justice by Loren D. Estleman is a western novel that reflects on the history of the old west. It is easy and delightful to read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Loren D. Estleman
series: Page Murdock, US Deputy Marshal #10
publisher: Tor Forge
paperback, 224 pages