- Mustang Man
- Ride the River
- Man from the Broken Hills
Whenever a friend highly recommends a book or an author, those names go down on my "to read" list. Not only because I might like them as well, but also because I need to be able to talk intelligently with my friend about her passion. So when my friend Tiffany started reading Louis L'Amour, I knew my time was coming.
Western novels have never really been an interest of mine. I don't know why, since for most of my childhood I was enamored of horses and cowboys. I read every book about horses I could get my hands on, and devoured every title Dale Evans (wife of famous cowboy actor Roy Rogers) published. Yet it never occurred to me to read a Western. Until now.
Louis L'Amour is a storyteller. He considered himself to be a "troubadour of the West". And that is his greatest talent. His stories paint an exciting picture of life during the early days of America's history. But as a writer, he can be a bit sloppy. Both Mustang Man and Ride the River were at times painfully repetitive and gave the impression of being dashed off quickly without a backward glance. I wondered as I read if an editor's eyes had ever perused their pages—they were that bad.
Man from the Broken Hills supports my theory that perhaps L'Amour fell into the trap that many successful, prolific writers have fallen into: that of becoming careless in the latter years of their careers. Written 10 years previous to the above titles, the book is of considerably better quality. The story is captivating, with far less of the slap-dash effect. So while my first impressions weren't entirely favorable, I'll not shelve this author yet!