I’m not sure how it happened but when I sat down at my keyboard this year to jump into the National Novel Writing Month frenzy, a “western” started galloping out of my head. Go figure. I sat down to add to my horse series for middle grades students and instead a western emerged. Since it’s corraled in my head let’s work that western theme. I’ll post some of my reviews of western novels. Here’s the first:
Kansas Kid by Lauran Paine
I picked up a book from the Sonoma County Library called Kansas Kid, written by Lauran Paine. There’s a second story by Paine in the volumne titled Border Dawn. I enjoyed Kansas Kid, and will read the second story later. Paine’s bio says he wrote over 1,000 books under his own name and various pseudonyms. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and worked with livestock, rodeos and even motion pictures where he served as an extra because of his expert horsemanship. I’m not sure during which years he completed these stories, but Kansas Kid was published in 2010.
Kansas Kid is thrown in jail for killing the man who drew on him first in front of the saloon as witnessed by several people. It turns out the thug who was sent to kill Kansas Kid was sent by….. I won’t tell you. The bulk of the story is about how Race Dunphy, owner of the saloon, tries to sort out the mystery of the connection between Kansas Kid and Earnest Franklyn, the wealthy owner of the Bear Trap Ranch. Dunphy is puzzled why neither of the two men will talk. Franklyn threatens to close the saloon if Dunphy won’t do it himself. I found this to be a good western themed mystery. Author Lauran Paine has done a credible job with his western details, character and plot. —Robin Moore