A Ralph Compton novel by David Robbins
Signet, January 2016
Chancy Gantry and Ollie Teal are honest cowpunchers riding herd on fifteen hundred longhorns from Texas to Kansas. Their trail boss, Lucas Stout, is tough but fair. He’s never lost a hand on a drive and doesn’t aim to start now. So when a cowhand needs a sawbones bad, Stout sends Chancy and Ollie to escort the man to a town called Prosperity, which none of them has ever heard of.
At first glance, the town looks deserted – but the saloon is full. The dusty denizens of Prosperity are happy to help the ailing cowboy, especially when they hear about the herd grazing a few miles away. Chancy and Ollie are about to discover that some towns are a lot easier to ride into than to ride out of….
David Robbins presents the reader with a very interesting mix of characters, not least Ollie Teal, a man whom some would label as being backwards, his childlike wonder at everything and non-stop babble get on some peoples’ nerves but his loyalty to the brand and his pard, Chancy, are second to none.
There are other memorable characters too, both amongst the cowboys and the townspeople. The crippled doctor for instance and a handful of fast guns that will have you wondering who will come out on top should they have the need to face each other, something that has just got to happen, hasn’t it?
As one would hope for in a book written by David Robbins you get plenty of cracking dialogue, descriptions that portray the land, town, and emotions perfectly, placing you right there sharing the joys, laughter, horror and fear with the characters. And then there is the action, fast and brutal at times, that becomes almost non-stop when the cowboys realize the true intentions of those living in Prosperity.
There are plenty of edge-of-the-seat situations, surprises too, and it soon becomes apparent that you cannot predict who will be left alive at the end, if anyone. David Robbins ties everything up neatly and to say more would surely spoil the book for those intending to read it. My final thoughts are that this is a western all fans of the genre should enjoy.