The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo by Ian Stansel is the New Title Tuesday recommendation this week. The story begins with Silas murdering his brother and slingshots to the widow’s horseback pursuit of justice.
Publisher’s Summary: A contemporary Western debut about two brothers locked in a deadly feud, a woman on horseback trailing her husband’s killer, and the inescapable ties of home and family. When Silas Van Loy flees home on horseback to avoid capture for his brother’s murder, he is soon followed by both the police and his brother’s wife, Lena, who is intent on exacting revenge. She reluctantly lets her trusted stable assistant join her in a journey across the wilds of Northern California in the hopes of catching Silas for one final showdown. Stansel follows the chase and shares the story of the brothers’ rise from hardscrabble childhood to their reign as the region’s preeminent horse trainers, tracking the tense sibling rivalry that ultimately leads to the elder’s death.
Frankly, I’d never heard of ‘horse fiction’ and probably wouldn’t have picked up The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo had I known. While I have known of girls who rode and knew the difference between English and Western style, I was looking for something more along the lines of the Westerns I grew up with. Fortunately, I got what I hoped for, a story with nature and animals as major characters in a believable and unpredictable human drama. To my surprise, there was more than just good guys versus bad guys morality play in this debut novel.
Reviewer for horsenation.com, Kristen Kovatch wrote, “The novel is widely hailed as an updated or contemporary Western and does contain most of the key elements — a cowboy figure with his trusty steed and gun, flight into wilderness and, of course, revenge. A few noted choices in setting — the brothers turn their family horse ranch into one of the finest hunt seat establishments in Marin County in order to compete with the times — prevent The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo from slipping into the overbearing fatalistic themes that are so common in many modern westerns.”
The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo is a surprise and satisfying read and I look forward to Stansel’s next contribution to the genre.
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True Grit [Blu-ray disc] Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross, determined to avenge her father’s blood, enlists the help of one-eyed U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn and hardened Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, to track down Tom Chaney, the man who killed him. Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, and Hailee Steinfeld. PG-13; for some intense sequences of Western violence, including disturbing images.