I just finished reading Bill Crider’s “Outrage at Blanco.” I crawled into my hammock this morning and didn’t leave until I was done. It’s that good.
Ellie Taine is raped while on her way home from town. Her husband, a farmer, attempts to avenge her rape and is killed for his efforts, gunned down in the middle of the street. Ellie determines to hunt down the rapist/killers with nothing but revenge on her mind. The unlikeliest of men, Jonathan Crossland — an old man who hasn’t been out of bed in weeks and is within days of dying — joins her. The entire book takes place in three days. The writing is excellent and the story is unusual enough to be interesting. But it’s the way Crider delves into the psyche of Taine and Crossland, spending much of the book helping us understand what they are going through, the struggles they encounter with the decisions they make and the actions they take, that make this book a “must read” for Western fans.
Crider writes with a subtle wit and a touch of sarcasm that I find fascinating. I would like to think there is some of that in my books, but I’m going to have to go back and take another look and see if I’m just flattering myself.
Full disclosure: Bill Crider’s book, “Outrage at Blanco,” is part of my new 52 Weeks * 52 Western Novels anthology of which Bill is a guest contributor. Glad to have him in both capacities.