Monday, 27 July 2009

Rio Bonito

as by Abe Dancer
A Black Horse Western from Hale, July 2009

Joe Kettle possessed the grit and fighting blood of his father, and his father before him. And he needed it, for Wilshaw Broome – once a loyal foreman of the Standing K ranch – was using hired gunmen in his effort to seize the Kettle domain.

Supported by an ageing Hector Chaf and Ben McGovren, Joe sets out to win back his birthright. But each of the three men has his own special reason for going up against overwhelming opposition, and it wasn’t all to do with property and livestock.

To overcome Broome’s force, they would play a waiting game, take advantage of the hidden trails and scrub thickets along the Rio Bonito. Then, when the time was right, they would not hesitate to meet force with force and guns with guns.

This is the first book I’ve read by Abe Dancer and the first thing I noticed about it compared to most other BHW is its length, it is much longer, not in page numbers but in size of print. Dancer tells his story in short chapters, beginning in the past as he lays out the foundations of the various families that will play a part in the struggle to gain control of the Standing K. This involves a fair amount of gunplay and a couple of deaths are quite graphically described. This is also where someone’s trademark of cutting off earlobes is first mentioned.

The book has some good descriptive passages of action, landscape, and characters but also contains a lot of dialogue. The battle for the ranch is attempted through legal paperwork but it soon becomes evident this wont be enough and guns will have to back this up. The story is fairly straightforward and doesn’t offer much in the way of twists to the plot and finishes with a well written hand-to-hand fight that ties the story up well.

If you decide to buy a copy of this book I suggest you search for it by its title as it can be found listed as by two different authors – Abe Dancer and Caleb Rand. Both these authors are actually the same person, Carl Bernard (the pseudonyms being anagrams of his name). Another interesting fact about Carl Bernard is that he provides his own cover art for his books.

Rio Bonito has an official release date of July 31st but is available now.


Jack said...

This sounds a touch different to the books that he's written before.
Just waiting for my copy to arrive.

Steve M said...

Be interested in your take on the book Ray.

Mister Roy said...

Quite an epic for a BHW, with some great turns of phrase in the dialogue. Just looking at the author's website - know what he means about higher education being like the Wild West! Look like his miss us does the covers.