Saturday, April 27, 2019

Mister St John by Loren Estleman

“You ever ride posse before, Mr. Rawlings?” asked St John, when a door had closed behind her at the end of the hall.

“This is my first one.”

“Then here’s your first lesson. Don’t ever make excuse for the man in charge. If he’s any good he won’t need them, and if he’s not, he doesn’t deserve them”

A rock-solid novel from Estleman with a lawman past his time forming a posse with an also aged Indian tracker, a legally-blind sharpshooter, a Sunday school teacher with less than saintly predictions, and two banditos with less than noble motives.

They are trailing the notorious Buckner gang, and the company of these brigands is equally intriguing.

Rife with flavor and observation.

“I remember him saying it was the cold weather that saved you. Ten degrees warmer and you’d have bled to death half way there.”

“And if that bullet had been rimfire instead of center-fire it would have flattened out against my hip bone and you’d have plucked her out with tweezers the same day and I wouldn’t be feeling it every time it rains. How things might have gone and how they went don’t have much to do with each other.”

You’ll even pick up some useful advice for on the scout.

“The area behind the rocks smelled of ammonia. He wondered idly if the woman used it too. Nodesty was an early casualty on the scout. His urine steamed in the cold clear air.”

“Woman Watching built a good Indian fire scarcely bigger than a man’s hand (‘white man make fire big, sit back, no good. Indian make fire small, stay close, get warm.)

All in all, a superlative effort.

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