Sunday, March 10, 2013
Western - Allingham
Publication Date: 2013
Number of Pages: 266 pages
Geographical Setting: Arizona
Time Period: mid-nineteenth century
Subject Headings: wild west, police officers, criminals, cowboys
Appeal: fast paced, character driven, dark and graphic
Summary: John Horst really got in his stride in his latest (and in my opinion, so far greatest) Western novel. This is John's first stand alone novel since his critically acclaimed Mule Tamer series (Amazon top 100 Bestselling Western for the Kindle) and I really enjoyed getting to meet new characters. As usual, Allingham is a masterfully character driven novel. The plot goes in and out, but his wonderful, relate-able characters move the story forward.
Sergeant Allingham, a solitary and generally unlikable police officer, decides to move out west to Arizona when he finds that due to cancer he has only has months to live . His doctor assures him that Arizona's dry heat is much better suited for his condition then the cold unpredictable weather of New York. He figures that being a marshall in the Wild West will give him an easy way out, he can go out in a blaze of glory rather than wasting away in a hospital bed.
Canyon Diablo is more of a challenge then he expected, it is filled with the lowest of men, people shitting in streets, whores, pimps, and gamblers, having the run of a town. In no time at all Allingam gets to work and starts to clean up the town. It's citizens are amazed, they've never had a sheriff that lasted than more a few weeks and they've certainly never encountered anyone that was capable of improving the town. Instead of dreaming about dying in a blaze of glory, Allingham discovers that he's actually starting to enjoy himself and wants to help this town get's back on his feet. For the first time in his life he is happy. He has good deputies working under him and has found himself trying to impress the impossibly beautiful Rebecca Halstead. With everything starting to go so good at the end of his life, nothing can go wrong.... or can it???
Like I said this book is wonderfully character driven. I immediately fell in love with Francis (one of the young deputies) and his funny stories that amused the Marshall and the crew ("I'll be go to hell!"). I even found myself warming up to Allingham who really starts to develop as a character as the story progresses. He starts off cold and impenetrable but as he starts to help Canyon Diablo he lets his guard down and shows us that he really has a heart. I even found myself tearing up at the end.
John C. Horst has done it again. He's created a western that is perfect for everyone because it has a little bit of everything, it has mystery, a little romance, and historical intrigue. Give it a try!!