Saturday, April 6, 2013
First things first: I don't read Westerns. Well, there was a few months when I was a sophomore in high school that I got on a kick with the Wagons West series by Dana Fuller Ross (you know: Independence! Nebraska! Wyoming! And so on!) but that was really more of a literary divergence for me. Not that there's anything wrong with Westerns. They're just generally not for me.
But that was before I discovered Gasher Creek, by J. Birch.
On the first page of this amazing novel, Jack, our protaganist, wakes up in a whorehouse bed next to the battered dead body of Sally the Whore. Hank Dupois, the whorehouse proprietor, towers over him with a shotgun. Jack himself is suspiciously unharmed, and remembers next to nothing of the previous day.
And what Jack does remember suggests that he's the killer.
Gasher Creek is a masterfully written tale. The characters live and breathe and spit and shoot and cuss and kill.
The narrative is told mainly through the adventures of Jack Devlin as he attempts to outrun the law and Sheriff Tracker as he attempts to serve it. Along the way we meet others: some homesteaders, an Indian who's learning to be a preacher, and a sinister coyote the size of a barn.
The pace of this novel is fast. The scenery is lush. I raced through this book in about a quarter of the time it usually takes me to read a full-length novel. I read in bed and at work, over breakfast, while waiting for people and appointments. I just couldn't put it down.
Read Gasher Creek. Just trust me on this. I don't care if, like me, you don't read Westerns.
Buy it for your Kindle!