A fun, light read from B.S. Dunn in the historical western genre.
From the opening line, this book presents enough mystery to keep you guessing about what is really going on. There are a few predictable places where the plot seems to coast along. Don’t worry, these are well placed pauses for you to catch your breath before the roller coaster of fun begins again. At first, to me, it felt like there were several disparate pieces of information being tossed out, as the incidents did not appear to be connected. As the story continued, it carefully drew in each of those pieces and used them to add texture to the overall tapestry of events.
From what I know of Texas history, and some of the “Old West”, the setting and culture has been thoroughly researched and the incidents that occur are very plausible events. While it may seem impractical for a single person to manage the feats Laramie does, as you follow through the story, you realize how Dunn applies the old adage “a few may go where many cannot” to good effect.
The development in this book is not so much with the main character, but the side characters. At least from what I could understand. (I haven’t read the first book, so not sure how much change Laramie shows from where he started.) The military unit, the antagonist, and the supporting villains are all well developed characters with a nice blend of flaws and virtues. Even if you do have to dig for the virtues in the Apache warrior. There are a few threads that lead to small scenes outside the main story line, which provide even more depth to the supporting characters, and often a spot of humor to a dark situation, or vice versa.
The world building ties into the obvious research, and I do not think that anyone familiar with the era will be left unhappy about where (or when) the events take place. With well placed references to the landscape, plants, and condition of the buildings, Dunn draws you into the setting with the characters. I did notice a few places where there was quite a bit of “tell” and while it doesn’t detract from the story, it does take away from the immersive experience.
Overall, this was a fun read, and I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys the Western genre with a five out of five stars. Well done!