Monday, December 30, 2013

26. Bold Rider by Luke Short

Not the copy I read.
I really should have some system for noting where I found books, because some have stayed so long in my on-deck shelf that I have entirely forgotten their origins.  Such is the case with Bold Rider.  I don't read tons of westerns, but I like to dip my toe in the water every now and then as it is usually satisfying.  The cover and date of this one appealed to me.  It looked like the kind of paperback western that would be quickly and easily purchased by the common man looking for a good read back in the 70s, but it was actually written in 1938 and so has some potential for pedigree and solid writing syntax.

It's funny, though, because if I hadn't known, I never would have guessed that it had been written that long ago.  The story has a slightly cartoonish feel to it, where the main character is a roguish good guy who is in constant conflict with the local army garrison.  There is a highly unrealistic over-the-top train stunt that would not be out of place in today's blockbuster movies.  Finally, the ending is also a bit too easy and happy.  All that was juxtaposed against what was otherwise quite brutal and realistic western stuff.  The bad guy was nasty and people get killed and it's real.  So it was kind of an inconsistent read and unsatisfying because of that, but not uninteresting.

The story involved the hero pretending to be someone else to transport a gold shipment from a mine so that he could steal it, while he knew that the other transporter was also a criminal who had posed as well. This is all wrapped up in the protagonist's history and how he was falsely accused of a crime by the cattle baron for whom the gold was being transported.

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