“The Burning Hills” is a Louis L’Amour book. The simple review is this: If you like Louis L’Amour books, you’ll like “The Burning Hills.” I was doing some research on first chapters and picked 10 Louis L’Amours for my homework. I sat down and read the first chapter of each book to look for patterns, which I found. I also found myself drawn into this one and wound up finishing the whole thing. I’d read it three times previously, but was still drawn in.
If you’ve read L’Amour in the past, you know a couple of things. The protagonist will be drawn into a fight he didn’t start and will stand almost alone against virtually insurmountable odds. He’ll come close to death, and he’ll win the beautiful young lass in the end. The predictability makes the reading comfortable, and I’ve often referred to L’Amour as the meatloaf of Western writers — it’s comfortable, it’s tasty, and you can always come back to it.
One big difference in this book is that the young woman, Maria Cristina, is the smartest and toughest of all of them. I don’t mean tougher and smarter than the women in his other books, but tougher and smarter than the men in this one. She is not left waiting back at the ranch, praying for her man to come back. She fights right from the start. She fights well, and she fights without fear. She’s the star of the book, and I found myself racing through the pages where she was not involved and savoring the ones where she was.
It’s a good book, a pretty standard Western yarn, well-written (as are all L’Amour Westerns) and a quick read. If you have a couple of hours and just want to enjoy yourself, pick it up and have fun.