Monday, October 10, 2011
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, Vol. II by Edward A. Grainger
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was never much into westerns in print until Cash Laramie came along, and the second volume may even exceed the first. Opening with the novella that tells us how Cash got the arrowhead around his neck and the name that strikes fear into owlhoots and men of misguided moral compass alike, this collection takes Cash and Gideon Miles on harrowing adventures requiring both a fast gun hand and a depth of character to survive. It's this second quality that shines in this collection, as we see Cash as both an honorable and a hot-tempered youth, in situations where his reactions end up defining him as a man. Gideon Miles only gets one solo tale, but it's also one that explores the ambiguities of his role as a lawman, and as a black man during Reconstruction. But don't worry, he also needs his wits and sharpshooter eyes to make it through his tale alive.
Edward A. Grainger manages to write exciting tales with a strong moral focus, where the grit coats things in ever-spreading shades of gray. There are no easy choices or simple heroes and villains, just the living and the dead, with two men trying to seed justice in a wild and barren landscape where greed and power seem the only weeds able to find any purchase.
In short, saddle up, partner, and come along for a ride along the trail westerns such as The Proposition and Unforgiven blazed, and let Cash and Miles take you deeper into the frontier of new western pulp.
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