I’m quite lucky because David Cranmer has sent me a few review copies of the various books be publishes. This isn’t one of them. I probably could have got a free copy if I’d asked for one but I really enjoy the Cash Laramie stories and so they are so cheap I bought it myself. Buying something that you can probably get for free probably tells you you everything you need to know about my feelings towards this series of stories.
When I read the first Cash book I wasn’t all that keen to be honest. I’d not read any western fiction since I was a little kid and I watched John Wayne on TV with my dad. That was a long time ago and the western genre of fiction was dead. Right? It turns out that even today that setting of lawlessness and freedom feels just as special as it did thirty years ago. In keeping with the rest of the Beat To A Pulp line this story is still Crime Noir. It is hardboiled and it has a strong detective character that of course has a few traits that set him apart from not just his peers but most of society.
I had not heard of the Ghost Dancers or Ghost Shirts of the Lakota Sioux before reading this story, but I had heard of The Battle of Wounded Knee. Although not essential to the story they add a great touch of colour and inspired me to go and research these fascinating people. Looking back they just seem insane but if you try and put yourselves in their situation they were just a scared and angry group of displaced youths. Somehow Mr Dundee manages to get this across without devoting many words to it.
As usual for a Cash Laramie story the hero takes some quite painful physical punishment that somehow seems irrelevant when compared to the anguish he feels near the end. I got to about 90% through this book and had no idea how the author was going to get the ending done without rushing it. It was a clever and wholly appropriate twist that enable a quick ending. Like the rest of the book it was well worked and a great read.