The Night McLennan Died” is Marshall Grover’s very fun book. It has what you’ve come to expect from a good Western yarn: a small town cowed by a greedy rancher who has plenty of hired guns, beautiful women, a valiant, but outgunned and outmanned sheriff, and the stranger who rides into town to save everyone.
If that was all it was, it would still be a good read because of Grover’s crisp, fast-paced writing. But Grover goes another step and adds a character who is very unusual — if not unique — an ugly, runty, little Mexican thief named Benito Espino. Try as he might, our protagonist, Big Jim Rand, can’t get rid of this character and the reader benefits as a result. Espino, and his trusty burro, Capitan Cortez, are the absolute highlight of this “very well worth it” read. Tell me when you read the last page if you don’t think of the final scene of one of my all-time favorite movies, “Casablanca.” It’s a short book, one good-sized cigar should get you through and I strongly recommend it.