Betty Zane (Ohio River #1) ★☆☆☆½

bettyzane (Custom).jpgThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Betty Zane
Series: Ohio River #1
Author: Zane Grey
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western?
Pages: 263
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Betty Zane has come to the frontier to live with her brother and his family. Pretty, head strong and used to getting her way, Betty lives life her way.

A young man comes to the settlement and because he doesn’t immediately bow to Betty’s beauty she “hates” him. Of course, they fall in love with each other but between both of them being young, full of pride and just generally stupid, things don’t go easy.

Then Indians and some damn British Red Coats attack the fort. The brave men and women and children hold them off and win a great victory.

Betty Zane and her fella done get hitched and produce a heap ‘o chillens.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, after I was done with the Sacketts, I figured Zane Grey was next. This is NOT an auspicious start, that is for sure.

This isn’t what I’d think of as a Western, but more of Frontier Fiction. There are no cowboys, no West, it’s all East of the Mississippi river and it is sappy as a Janette Oke book. I was NOT expecting that.

I also wasn’t expecting deeply insightful characters either but almost everyone portrayed came across as a cardboard cutout slapped with a coat of brightly colored paint. I felt like I was watching clowns at a circus.

The story telling itself was tedious. First Zane would do a chapter of “history” where he just spells everything out. Then we’d jump into the story where he would then tell that exact same history but using the characters and making a story of it. He bleeding spoils his own thing and pretty much just puffs up his word count. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

I have an omnibus edition of Grey’s works and I’ll be skipping the next Ohio River book. Of course, without an actual index I’ll have to flip through 200’ish pages to do that. This is why you shouldn’t buy $2 omnibus books on Amazon.

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

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Lonely on the Mountain (Sacketts #17) ★★★☆☆

lonelyonthemountain (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lonely on the Mountain
Series: Sacketts #17
Author: Louis L’Amour
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 224
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Tell, Orrin and Tyrell Sackett get a note from their cousin Logan that he needs a herd of cattle driven to some place or other and that if the herd isn’t delivered before the snow falls he’ll hang. The Sackett brothers begin.

They gather a herd, realize they have enemies to deal with and have adventures. The herd gets scattered in a stampede, a girl is seeking her brother and no one has heard from Logan again.

The Sackett brothers overcome all, find Logan and rescue a small group of settlers that are being starved out by desperadoes searching for gold.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, this was the final Sacketts book written by L’Amour, chronologically speaking. I enjoyed my time reading this book but it did rather meander, much like a cattle drive and the ending was so quick that I blinked and whammo, I was done the book.

That is ok because it gives me more room to talk about this series as a whole in wrapping things up.

I started reading the Sacketts almost 3 years ago with Sackett’s Land. More of a historical fiction than western, it set the tone for Clan Sackett. Loyalty, responsibility, a high regard for education and the written word, a love of honor and all things Right, a respect for the Law even when you thought it was wrong. The Sackets also did whatever they set their minds to. They didn’t give up or allow their circumstances to dictate their actions. They were what Real Men want to be. Personally, while I would love to emulate men like those portrayed in the series, I’d be ok with a little less gun play and a LOT less fisticuffs. I’m just too pretty 😉

I think L’Amour used this series to showcase how great he thought America was. He didn’t believe it was perfect or had sprung forth full grown, immaculately conceived. The birth of America was a bloody and dirty event and it’s growing up years were just as tumultuous. But it was glorious (!!) and L’Amour wanted to show that glory in the examples of the best of the men and women who forged this country. In many ways this series was a Love Letter to America. It was also a reminder to the up and coming generation that everything they had was built on the backs of men of character and what their forefathers had sweated blood for they, the current generation, better not take for granted. Yes, these stories were romanticized, but what do we all dream of that isn’t? We dream for a reason, because reality is gritty and full of failure and despair. We dream because we know in our very souls that there MUST BE something better.

On a less salubrious note, this series also showcased all of L’Amours strengths AND his weaknesses. He was a franchise writer and he had deadlines and he’d recycle story lines and not worry about keeping things completely straight. If a character was going to get married at the end of one book, L’Amour saw that as no impediment to making said character be single in a later book. There was very little cohesive narrative beyond Names. I might be reading my own meloncholia into things but sometimes it felt like L’Amour was foretelling the fall of America. If men stopped being men of character, then the whole country would suffer.

The other thing I’d like to talk about, for just a sentence or two, is the covers. Since these started out in the 60’s and finished up in the 80’s, with multiple re-releases and the latest installment coming out in ebook in the early ’10’s, they showcase the era in which each was published. It is an education to look at various publications to see what was expected from a western novel throughout the decades.

Overall, while I never rated these above 3.5, I still enjoyed the time I spent reading. Ride the River would probably be my pick of the litter if I had to choose one to elevate above all the others. I just checked though and I gave Lando 4 stars. Mainly for the macho boxing fight at the end. I’d still recommend Ride the River in general, as mano-a-mano isn’t for everyone.

★★★☆☆

 

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Ride the Dark Trail (Sacketts #16) ★★★☆½

ridethedarktrail (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Ride the Dark Trail
Series: Sacketts #16
Author: Louis L’Amour
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 167
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Logan Sackett is on the run from a posse and in possession of a stolen horse. He takes a rest in a small town and is trying to eat a meal in peace. A young woman enters the bar looking for work, as the man she had been working for is trying to force her to marry him since her father is dead. Logan gets involved, comes across the man running the town and learns that an Emily Talon is needing some help. He takes the young woman out to Emily’s ranch and finds out she is a Sackett and under siege.

He doesn’t like the boss man in town, a relative needs help and a pretty young girl has already relied on him. It’s a no brainer that Logan sticks around. He sends out some feelers for Emily’s two sons and begins doing what a Sackett does best, ie, stand their ground.

Logan and Emily take on a whole gang and when Em’s two sons do return, Logan is wounded, left on a mountain and then has to go rescue Emily who has been taken captive by the Boss. Showdown ensues, bad guys die and Logan thinks about moving on to California.

 

My Thoughts:

An enjoyable read that kept me entertained for a day. None of these Sackett books truly depend on each other. Change the names of the characters and you could have any standalone western that you wished. I guess that could be viewed as a weakness and in the right (or wrong perhaps?) mood I could definitely go that way. But these are just tales of adventure showcasing the Spirit of America.

L’Amour obviously loved America and thought that the men and women who bled and died during its growing up period deserved to be thought of as heroes. Not superheroes or impossible icons, but heroes in the fact that they did the right thing and just wouldn’t give up.

This checked off most of the boxes I expect from a Sackett book: the hint of romance with the girl, rugged individualism, a mountain, a rain storm, tricky and brutal badguys, relatives saving the day.

I would say this is a typical L’Amour book and you’ll either enjoy it or not depending on if you like him as an author or not.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Treasure Mountain (Sacketts #15) ★★★☆½

treasuremountain (custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Treasure Mountain
Series: Sacketts #15
Author: Louis L’Amour
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 208
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Tell Sackett along with one of his brothers, is trying to find out what happened to their father. Their mother is reaching the end of her life and she wants to know what happened to her husband those many years ago. Tell begins tracking down the last known job his father took and in the process finds out that his father might have been killed for a hidden fortune in gold.

Tell stirs up some issues that people would prefer to stay hidden. While Tell isn’t on the trail of the gold, others are and they don’t want Tell or his brothers to get any of that gold.

Tell finds out what happened to his father and finds his burial place. At the same time, the gold hunters close in and begin hunting the Sacketts, as Tyrel and Orrin have joined up with Tell. Tell plays hide and seek on a mountain with some of the killers and wins. The other 2 brothers take care of the rest of the badguys off-stage and everything is hunky-dory.

Tell meets a Trelawney girl and plans on settling down in the area so his Ma can live the last of her days in peace.

 

My Thoughts:

First things first. L’Amour in no way was concerned with story continuity when writing these Sackett books. There is a very loose continuity, but unlike a series today, he deliberately writes in the moment. As he says in his little blurb, he’s a myth teller, not a historian. It’s only taken me 15 books to really realize this. Wish it had sunk in a little sooner, would have made me stop trying to tie all the books together.

I’ve noticed that L’Amour likes to have his characters fight it out on the tops and sides of mountains. Raining or at night or something. It does make for a good exciting fight scene.

I like having a dash of western genre in my reading cycle so when I’m done this Sackett series (only 2 more books to go) I’ll be checking out either Zane Grey or Max Brand. Probably whichever one my library has a bigger collection of will decide which I go for.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Galloway (Sacketts #14) ★★★☆½

galloway (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Galloway
Series: Sacketts #14
Author: Louis L’Amour
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 152
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Flagan and Galloway Sackett are ambushed by renegade Indians and Flagan is captured. He makes an escape and heads naked and unarmed into the mountains. He has a runin with with some local tough and ends up being rescued by Galloway.

The brothers make it to town and decide that they want to settle down there. Unfortunately, the same local tough who gave Flagan a hard time is the son of the local cattle rustler who wants to settle down and rule the town. But when the Sacketts are in trouble, the whole gang comes piling in.

The Sacketts take out a sniper, beat the snot out of the cattle rustler and make a good place for themselves.

 

My Thoughts:

This was more about Flagan Sackett than Galloway. And really, Flagan already had his story in a previous book, The Skyliners. To add to my confusion, in that book, it ends up with Flagan seeming like he’s all set to marry a girl named Judith and take over a ranch from her father. So how does this fit in? In many ways this was the same story as the Skyliners but almost presented as an alternate history version.

I enjoyed the story a lot and really wasn’t thinking much about the above until I went through to my previous Sacketts reviews to write this one. I did some “indepth investigation” and apparently everyone else who has read this book has the same issues. Thinking about it, I’m wondering if Lamour had a scheduling deadline and needed to churn out a “story” quick with not even minimal work? I believe it was originally published in 1970 and it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the case. Because its that or Lamour was going full on alzheimers and since he was still writing in the 90’s, weeeeeeeeeellllll…..

So a good fun standalone story as long as you don’t try to fit it into the overall Sacketts narrative.

★★★☆½

 

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Mustang Man (Sacketts #13)★★★☆½

mustangman (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Mustang Man
Series: Sacketts #13
Author: Louis L’Amour
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 176
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Nolan Sackett is on the run. Again. He runs across an abandoned wagon and the woman and man try to ambush him to steal his horse, then when that fails they try to poison him. He gets their horses back for them anyway but then leaves them to their fate.

In the next little settlement he is hired as a guide to a young woman, an older man and a halfbreed. They wish to find a hidden cache of gold that the young woman’s grandfather supposedly hid when attacked by Mexicans way back when. Nolan is to lead them to a particular area then his services will no longer be needed.

However, the previous couple is also after the gold and they hire some pretty bad men. The older man escorting the young lady isn’t so virtuous either. Nolan chooses to protect the young lady and through hardwork, the help of a tough old salt, some fancy machinations, a bit of fast gunplay and plain old luck, ends up with the gold and the girl.

The only “outlaw” Sackett makes good.

 

My Thoughts:

Man, what do I say about these? Beyond a synopsis and whether I enjoyed it or not, these books aren’t deep enough for much of a review.

I did enjoy this a lot and there was a lot of action and badguys galore and the lone gunman (who wasn’t quite so alone) and the plucky heroine. It made for a fun, fast read.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Lonely Men (Sacketts #12) ★★★☆½

lonelymen (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Lonely Men
Series: Sacketts #12
Author: Louis L’Amour
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 192
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Tell Sackett gets unknowingly embroiled in the marriage problems of his brother and his sister-in-law. She wants to hurt her husband and the best way to do that is to hurt his brother, so she tells Tell that her son was kidnapped by Apaches and won’t Tell please rescue him. This will lead to Tell going into Mexican Territory and either being killed by the Apaches, the desert or the Mexican Army. Thing is, she doesn’t have a son.

But Tell gathers up a couple of other Lonely Men and chases down the Apaches. They rescue four children and hook up with the older sister of one of the captive kids. Once they rescue them, it is a running battle back to the States.The children and the older sister make it but only Tell and one of the Lonely Men do. Once back, Tell is embroiled yet again by his sister-in-law (who is very disappointed that he came back alive) and put in jail.He faces down a lynch mob and confronts her. She hires some badmen, who end up getting it from the Apaches and Tell leaves his sister-in-law in the desert with Apaches just behind them.

A good man might never hit or harm a woman, but a good man CAN step aside and stop providing protection to a bad woman.

 

My Thoughts:

This was some good old cowboys and indians adventure. I enjoyed this quite a bit and found it to be the perfect mix of western, rescue and goodguy versus badguy to make me happy. Just don’t have anything else to say about it I guess.

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)