“There is a power and beauty to a good ol’ fashioned Western that is hard to find in any other genre.”-Scott Harris
“There is blazing six-gun action on every one of the following pages. Hopefully, you will be reminded of some old friends and intrigued and excited by some new discoveries.”-Paul Bishop
The quoted salvos from the co-authors’ introductions to this book sum up what you will find within. The full-title of the book is 52 Weeks 52 Western Novels: Old Favorites and New Discoveries and that about nails it.
Hardcore Western fans, and I am wagering all genre fans in general, love a good recommendation, love a new list. We love the finger that points to a what is, hopefully, a brand-new piece of reading gold.
Often such “Best Of…” lists, no matter the genre, are mighty familiar. There are acknowledged classics to be touted and so often the heft of the list is taken up by works the devout reader has already consumed, and we are left with hopes of finding fresh titles lurking way down the list.
Here, there is a refreshingly different approach. Lonesome Dove is not listed. Not because of any perceived antipathy to Mr. McMurtry, but rather the authors seem to be saying, “We all know Lonesome Dove is brilliant, right? But how many times can we read it? What else is there?”
This approach allows the list and recommendations to breathe with fresh choices, with picks that often fall by the way side. Here, the hardcore Western fan will mostly be confronted with, “Hmm, I’d forgotten about that one” or, “Wait a minute, I never heard of this title” that sends you scrambling to the mighty Amazon or the used book store of choice.
I will not spoil what the authors have done by giving away their picks, they did the work, allow them to reap the rewards. I will add that the book’s design makes this one not only a pleasure to read, but one to browse merely for the art.
With that said, the volume is an easy no-brainer pick for all hardcore Western fans.
Disclosure: After having already read the book, and evaluated it, I have now had the pleasure of corresponding with both authors. Top-notch gents! Good men, good book. What’s not to like?