By Edward M. Erdelac
Comet Press, July 2013
1886. Geronimo and his followers, the last Apache resistance to white encroachment, have been transported east, and the blue wool defenders of The Fort settle into boredom, directing their cruel attentions to illicit liquor and prostitutes, their clearest enemy a weak officer’s bullheaded wife on a moral crusade.
One broken and battered Chiricahua boy, Na-e-te-nay, drags himself across the Arizona desert, held together only by a bleak vision of revenge; a vision that will cause him to abandon his warrior traditions and set his feet on Coyote’s Trail — the road of murder and evil.
After a brothel shootout between Na-e-te-nay and the US cavalry ends in fire and death, America, a broken young Mexican woman with her own reasons for hating the cavalry, finds herself pulled into his plot.
Enlisting the nominal aid of Rogerio, a shiftless, sadistic whiskey peddler who knows more about America’s hellish past than even she does, the three conspire to draw Na-e-te-nay’s remaining enemies out of the safety of The Fort, using America’s body as bait.
But America has her own vision of revenge…
Ever since reading Edward M. Erdelac’s previous western, Buff Tea, I’ve been looking forward to his next, and at last it’s here, and what a superb novel it’s turned out to be.
The three main characters are each fascinating in their own rights, each having their own personalities and agendas, each ready to work with and/or use the others to achieve their aims.
Edward M. Erdelac’s west is a harsh place where savage violence is only a heartbeat away. He tells his tale in vivid prose that paints dramatic and lasting imagery within the minds’ eye. You can almost taste the dirt and blood, feel the heat and share the anguish and pain as Na-e-te-nay and America struggle to avenge the wrongs done to them.
Coyote’s Trail is a tough, and brutal, story that grabbed my attention from the first page and refused to loosen its grip even after I’d reached the end. The final scene is moving and will stay in my memory for a very long time.
Edward M. Erdelac has written what could well be my western of the year!