All Laramie Davis wanted was a hot meal. What he got was a plate full of trouble.
It started with the killing of a Deputy Sheriff in Rock Springs and went down hill from there.
Laramie tangled with outlaws, blood hungry Indians and a murderous posse led by a family of killers.
Before it was over, many men would die.
This is the first book of the Laramie Davis Chronicles, and though I’ve read the second, I can say these stories are so well constructed you can read them in any order. (Though, to be honest, some of the time references will make better sense if you start with this one.)
The story opens with an interesting dilemma that doesn’t ever seem to go away – do I go or do I stay.
The over all story is well told, which makes for a nice, light read.
Getting down into the details, I’ll start with the world building. Being a historical western, there is a layer of reality that has to be established quickly. Dunn does a wonderful job transporting you back in time to that era. The noises, the scents, even the personal habits of the locals all shine through with out bogging you down in pages of descriptions.
Once Dunn has given you a glimpse of the world and the time, he turns his attention to the characters. I always have had a soft spot for horses, so when he remembered to include the mounts as characters (usually with very small bit-parts, but still parts) I knew this was going to be someone to watch. The details he includes provide a nice depth to the characters primary and secondary alike. The general masses that are needed to populate the towns or other locations have enough development, so you don’t feel like the action is happening on a painted screen, but the emphasis is saved for the big names who are carrying the tale forward.
This is a character driven story, with enough plot added to the mix to provide some balance. The pace is a nice moderate amble – fast enough to remain interesting, but not something that will make you fly through to the end. There are a few points along the way where it slows a touch too much for my taste, but that is usually right after a scene where the action is fast and furious – such as right after a gun battle. The pause in the action is perfectly understandable, however, it’s just not something I’m used to seeing/using much any more.
Overall, this is one that I think will withstand the ages, and be a long-term favorite among those who enjoy westerns. Especially since Dunn has brought the era to live in his works. Reading through this was like taking a trip back in time to visit, and then gently being deposited back in the present when the tour was finished. A solid five out of five star effort in my opinion.
If you are curious, you can pick up your copy of High Valley Manhunt from Amazon here to read for your self.
If you enjoyed the review, and wish for me to review your own work, please stop by my Offered Services Submission page, and send me a submission. I’ll be glad to discuss details with you.
Until next time…