Library Column: New large-print Westerns

Published 8:00 am Sunday, September 19, 2021

This column was submitted by Evangeline Cessna, Local History Librarian at the Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library.

This week’s column features westerns from our New Large Print collection.

Jackson Lowry adds to the “West of the Big River” series with his installment, “The Artist.” Many people may not know, but world-famous Western Artist Charle M. “Charlie” Russell was a horse wrangler on a ranch in Montana during one of the worst winters in the state’s history. Freezing to death while riding for the brand isn’t Charlie’s only problem, however. There is a ruthless band of rustlers lurking in the area and relieving local ranchers of their cattle and a beautiful, yet mischievous rancher’s daughter decides to complicate Charlie’s life even more. This historical novel is as entertaining as any of the tales told by the actual Charlie Russell.

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“Lone Star Law” is a collection of 12 short stories edited by Robert J. Randisi. Each one is packed with action and adventure and celebrates the legendary Texas Rangers. From stories written by the Western master Louis L’Amour to those of Rod Miller, Elmer Kelton, and Randisi himself. These authors explore the proud heritage of the elite Texas Rangers and endeavor to keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat. From historical tales of outlaws and rustlers to modern thrillers of tracking serial killers with the latest technology, this collection is all about delivering justice the Texan way.

Author Terrence McCauley adds to Ralph Compton’s “Gunfighter Series” with “Ride the Hammer Down.” Marshal John Beck has dedicated his career to dispensing justice throughout the West, but now things are personal. As the law in the dangerous town of Mother Lode, Ariz., he’s managed to keep bandits, rustlers and desperados at bay, but with the arrival of Bram Hogan and his Brickhouse Gang, Beck feels he is losing his edge. Those no-good scoundrels got the drop on him. They beat Beck to within an inch of his life and dropped him in the desert to experience a slow, painful death. Hogan and his gang underestimated the lawman, and now he’s coming back. Anyone who stands against him is going to ride the hammer to their grave.

John Shirley adds to Ralph Compton’s “Sundown Riders” series with his latest, “Prairie Fire, Kansas.” Cattle hand Seth Coe is fresh from a successful trail drive and flush with cash after a winning streak at the poker table. His good fortune earns him a dangerous enemy, Hannibal Fisher. This notorious tinhorn gambler is not too happy about being taken to the cleaners. The innocent Coe starts the long ride back to Texas with big plans — his own ranch and a wife. Serendipity befalls him as he is passing through tiny Prairie Fire, Kansas and he meets up with his childhood love Josette Dubois. Unfortunately, Josette’s monster of a father will do anything to prevent their happiness, including killing Coe. Well… if Fisher doesn’t get to him first.

“The Return of the Wolf: a Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger” novel is the latest from Larry D. Sweazy. Josiah Wolfe decides to quit the Texas Rangers and return home. He walks right into a family feud between the Langdons and the Halversons who have been fighting over land as the townsfolk have fled after losing out on a railroad junction. Morris Langdon has held a grudge against Josiah and the Texas Rangers ever since they hung his older brother. The Halverson family is still miffed at Josiah for leaving with their young grandson. Both have vowed revenge on the former Texas Ranger. Just as the Rangers are called in to put an end to the feud, the local sheriff is murdered and Josiah is accused of the killing. Will the Rangers help clear Josiah’s name, or will they treat him like a cold-blooded killer?

William W. Johnstone and J. A. Johnstone have two new novels in large print. First, there is “Blood in the Dust.” Hunter Buchanan and his coyote sidekick, Bobby Lee, forged a new life in the Black Hills of South Dakota following the end of the Civil War. Hunter finds himself down on his luck as he loses his family’s ranch in a fire and his gold is taken by a thief. And he may even lose his fiancée — saloon girl Annabelle — to a filthy rich rival. Hunter’s not ready to give up, however. He’s got a temporary sheriff’s badge, a long-range plan to rebuild his ranch, and his loyal coyote, Bobby Lee, at his side. Then things really get bad. Annabelle gets kidnapped and a stagecoach gets robbed in the town of Tigerville. Sheriff Hunter Buchanan isn’t going to rest until he gets back his girl and his gold—even if it means he’ll have to ride a long, dusty trail of blood-soaked vengeance.

Second in the Johnstone’s installments is book three of the “Slash and Pecos” series called “The Wicked Die Twice.” Not many men get a second chance at life, but thanks to a chief U.S. marshal who needs their help, the wily bank-robbing duo of Jimmy “Slash” Braddock and Melvin “Pecos Kid” Baker are on the right side of the law for a change. As unofficial marshals, they have agreed to pick up three prisoners from a jail in Milestown and deliver them to Denver. Easy as pie… until they learn the prisoners are a trio of sadistic killers known as Talon, “Hellraisin” Frank, and the Sioux called Black Pot. When they manage to escape before Slash and Pecos show up, they turn the town into their own personal playground — drinking, killing, ravaging, and burning. The cunning duo manages to put an end to their terror, but now they have to transport them to Denver. That’s easier said than done since the hellraisers’ leader has offered a thousand dollars to anyone who can kill Slash and Pecos.