Day: October 11, 2014
James Gallowbread sat out the Civil War as a guest in Lafayette Prison. Freed after serving an extra month of his seven-year sentence due to a contagious illness, he is thirty-two years old and knows no real trade – other than the illegal kind.
I’m not only a fan of the western genre, but write it as well, so I was more than pleased to receive a free review copy of Orphan Elixir by Joseph Hirsch. Hirsch tells the tale in the first person, in the style of fiction of the immediate post-Civil War era, and pulls it off extremely well. The reader can see, hear, smell, and feel the setting and people of Gallowbread’s world as seen through his jaundiced eyes.
Not at first a truly sympathetic character, as we get to know Gallowbread more, he becomes real, and not at all a totally bad sort. Hirsch gets points for his ability to take a flawed character and show what made him thus. He also effectively merges humor and pathos in a tale that you’ll find hard to put down until you reach the end.
My hat’s off to a western author to be looked out for. Four stars to Hirsch for Orphan Elixir.
Ray Courage was a college professor with a major addiction to baseball. When a student tried unsuccessfully to seduce him to get a better grade, and then accused him of coming on to her, he gave up teaching, and decided to become a private investigator.
When his former lover, Jill Stroud, comes to him with a plea to help her dad who thinks he’s about to be cheated, Courage has some doubts about this, his first case, but takes it anyway.
In Courage Matters by R. Scott Mackey, follow the sometimes funny, sometimes scary adventures of Ray Courage as he learns to be a PI – with the help of Rubia, a former gang-banger who owns the Say Hay Bar, a baseball-themed establishment.
I received a free review copy of Courage Matters, and while it was my first time reading Mackey’s work, I’m looking forward to another turn at bat.
Great dialogue and description, and some really wacky, but totally believable characters, and I like the way the author weaves his encyclopedic knowledge of baseball into the story. Mackey gets five stars for this one.