Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review: Mustang Man by Louis L'amour

There's something comforting about a Louis L'amour novel. Perhaps it is the fact that they remind me of my childhood; memories of my grandfather instantly flood my mind whenever I hear the author's name. Grandpa had the entire collection, or darn near close to it. Because they were readily available, L'amour's works were my first sampling of the western genre. It had been a while since I had read one, until last week when I picked up Mustang Man. I felt an instant connection to the novel, as it takes place in the Texas Panhandle and around the Rabbit Ears Mountain of northeast New Mexcio. Those areas too hold fond memories for me, and I'm familiar with that country. So, the novel resonated with me from the first page.
The action moves along at a brisk pace, which is just the way I like my books. L'amour novels do not have as much shooting as some of the modern western authors pack in, but the tale was never dull to me. And make no mistake, there's plenty of gunplay. Just not as much as series like the Johnstone books or the more recent Outlaw Ranger stories have. But, when the action does roll around, L'amour handled it just like you would expect an old pro to. Again, it was not a boring read by any means.
I almost hate including any criticism. Louie L'amour probably forgot more about writing in his lifetime than I'll ever know. But, there seemed to be a few minor unresolved elements by the time the end came. One in particular bugged me (warning: minor spoiler ahead). One central character is witnessed by another conversing with a gang of outlaws, casting doubt upon this character's true motives. This point is never really explained, and it left me a bit baffled. Other than that, Mustang Man is a solid read that I recommend for fans of the genre. It is the tenth book in the famed Sackett series, but one certainly does not have to read any of the others before enjoying this title. It is a stand-alone story that briefly alludes to the rest of the series, but always providing context. I give this one a 4 out of 5 rating and enjoyed it immensely.

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