"You ready to tell me what we're carrying?" "Why is it so important for you to know?" "Well first place, if it was nitroglycerin, then I would take another route. If it was whiskey I'd stop for a drink any time. Why is it you don't want to tell me?" "Alright, if you must know, it's dynamite." "Dynamite! Why in blazes didn't you tell me that when we started?" "If you had known would you have agreed to carry it?" "Probably not."
©2015 J.C. Hulsey (P)2015 Outlaws Publishing
Set in 1877, Texas, Ruby Cantrell has just arrived via coach. Now she just need a lift to her uncle Bernie’s ranch. However, she has a couple of crates that need a light touch in transport. Jubul Foxworth, the deputy sheriff, is hired to give her a lift in his cart.
The first big chunk of the book is all set up. Mostly, the characters are all being rather polite with each other and not much is happening. We learn that uncle Bernie runs a horse ranch and that he and Jubul have some beef between them. Ruby would like them to talk it out and then set it aside. A man named Renfro (spelling?) has the ranch next door where he runs cattle. There’s a dispute between him and Bernie as to who owns what land along that border and things are rather nebulous because this is the great wild west where sometimes might makes right.
All the action occurs in the last 40 minutes of the book. There’s someone shooting at law enforcement. Then the bad guys have come up with a simple plan to do evil deeds. Of course, the good guys end up on top while keeping their hands clean. Really, it reminded me of Disney in that manner. There’s no real moral conundrums and things end neat and tidy.
There were only three ladies. Ruby, who is polite and is a love interest; Sandra, who is the cook at the Cantrell Ranch, and also a love interest; and the newsman’s wife who we never actually see or hear but is just referred to. There’s a sweet little romance going on throughout the plot that was pretty simple and fast moving.
All together, the story read more like a screenplay for an old time western TV show. If that is what the author was going for, then he did it spot on. I found the plot and characters rather predictable. It was a sweet little tale that might evoke nostalgia for those old western serials for some. For me, I wanted a bit more – more realistic characters all around, more complex plot, etc.
I received a copy of this book at no cost from the narrator (via the GoodReads Audiobooks Group) in exchange for an honest review.
Narration: J. Scott Bennett did a good job. I think it must have been difficult to come up with so many cowboy voices and keep them all distinct, but he pulled it off. There was only 1 Hispanic accent (Sandra the cook) and he did that well. The voices for the lady characters were believable.
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