Day: February 7, 2015

Review of ‘Rifle River’

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Rifle River by Roy LeBeau is a formula western about Frank Leslie, a man trying to get away from his hard-drinking, whoring, gun fighting past. He settles in a green valley to raise horses in peace and quiet, but too many people are determined to see that his life is anything but peaceful.

Billed as an erotic western, it only has a few sex scenes, admittedly pretty graphic, but it has enough gun fighting and fist fighting to satisfy the diehard western fan. The action scenes are models of the genre, and the characters fully fleshed – not the cardboard, cliché characters one usually finds in stories like this.

While it might be a bit too graphic for the faint of heart, or the prudish, it’s sure to please those who like their westerns realistic.

I give it four stars.

Review of ‘Auraria’

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James Holtzclaw is a numbers-oriented land speculator. He’d never even heard of the town of Auralia, Georgia until his employer, the enigmatic H.E. Shadburn sent him there to buy it. Located in the mountains of north Georgia, Auralia is strange at first glance, and even stranger the more Holtzclaw learns of it.

Auralia by Tim Westover is a fascinating merging of fact and fantasy that defies categorization. Set in an actual gold-mining region of Georgia, it’s peopled with characters, real and imagined, that will tickle your funny bone from start to finish. Holtzclaw is something of a dullard, barely affected by the fantastic creatures and goings on around him, which makes the story all the more fun to read. He’s the perfect foil for the voracious Shadburn and the denizens of a town that defies the laws of nature.

In a talented author’s hands, the real and the not-so-real become so mushed up it’s hard to tell the difference.

A great weekend read. I give it four stars.

Review of ‘The Backworlds’

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Craze knew his father, Bast, was something of a soulless con man concerned mainly with himself, but he didn’t expect, after having helped him con so many marks, that Bast would turn on him. But, turn he did. In an effort to raise  his status with the other Verkinn Elders, Bast conspired to have Craze exiled from his home – and to add insult to injury, takes the woman Craze wanted as his second wife.

Out on his own, Craze, desolate and fearing he’ll never be able to return home, finds that home is not necessarily where you come from, but where you belong. He hooks up with other species and gets caught up in schemes and adventures that make his early life seem petty.

The Backworlds by M. Pax is the first in a series that is somewhere between Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Star Wars. By turns funny and frightening, the author has created a world that is believable in its improbability, and characters that you love to hate. There are a few formatting glitches that need fixing, and some of the dialogue is a bit stilted, but it’s still a fun read. I give it three stars.