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.