Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cherokee Trail

Do you ever get tired of the world we live in today? With all the stress of day-to-day life compounded with news of how bad the economy is, no end in sight, terrorism, crisis after crisis, etc. don't you just want to hide in a little cubby hole and not come out until it's over? Well if that sort of day ever comes your way then I heartily suggest a good western novel by Louis L'Amour. I've just completed Cherokee Trail and it took me to another place and time that somehow made our current predicaments fade away, at least for a while. I've probably read 40-50 of L'Amour's novels now, interspersing them throughout all of my other reading and I just never get tired of them.

Cherokee Trail is about a widow who takes over the management of a stagecoach stop in northern Colorado during the years of the Civil War back east. She is a very strong female character and it is a pleasure to see how she copes with the wildness of the times in a man's world and succeeds with her business. Now these novels will not win a Pulitzer prize, of course, but I don't read them for their literary merit. But I am impressed with L'Amour's knowledge of western life and I think he gets short shrift by historical purists who often discard his research and consequently his novels as "typical westerns." Yes, there are some cliched characters, the gun fighters, the ranchers, the stage operators, etc. but his protagonist displays the same sense of honor and courage that we find in all of his novels. And that's why I read them. I can always count on them to be what they are. I don't expect more or less than a good ol' fashioned western.

This morning I borrowed some time form my morning reading book to work on another Deaver short story. "Locard's Principle" is an original Lincoln Rhyme story (Deaver's main sleuth in his novels) and this story is consequently a bit longer than the other short stories in this volume. And you can see that Deaver is comfortable with these characters; in fact the very style of writing differs than the other stand alone stories I have read here. Unfortunately, I have not read any of his novels and I can't escape the feeling that I am eavesdropping on somebody else's story this time. It's like I am missing the inside jokes or perhaps I should know more than I do as I read the story. That's to be expected I suppose but while this story is probably the major draw for most readers, it doesn't work as well for me. But what irked me the most is that Lincoln Rhyme solves the case and doesn't fall for the bad guy's twist. That in itself is OK but an earlier story depicted Sherlock Holmes being duped by the bad guy's twist. Somehow that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Of course an author can do anything he wants, within copyright laws, but to have your own sleuth be infallible and somebody else's sleuth be tripped up...well, I just don't care for that.

Next up: Dawn, part of the second Warriors series of young adult books.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire