Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Elmer Kelton Novel Continues Ranger Series; New Western from Kent Conwell

Elmer Kelton, the masterful Western author from San Angelo who passed away in August, completed two more novels in his Texas Ranger series before he died.

The first one, Other Men’s Horses (Forge, $24.99 hardcover), came out last month. It is the eighth novel in the Ranger series. One more is due next year, which should in turn lead to a third repackaged trilogy the year after that.

Andy Pickard is back as the lead character, still serving as a Texas Ranger in the 1880s but wishing he could retire from the force and spend more time with his young wife, Bethel, on their farm. But rangering provides a more stable income than farming, and at this stage in their marriage they need the money.

He is assigned to track down a man who killed a horse thief, which he does in short order only to find the man’s associates ready to kill him. The wanted man saves Pickard’s life and then hightails it, but Pickard warns him that he will still have to hunt him down and bring him to justice.

When the wanted man’s wife sets out to join her husband, Pickard trails her. The woman stops at a prairie shack where she learns that her husband is not who she thought he was. Another horse thief shoots her husband, leaves him for dead, and takes her captive, intending to have his way with her.

Pickard and a deserter from Fort Concho who killed a man follow in pursuit as the chase takes a number of twists and turns. They cross the trail of quite a few low-life characters but also some decent folks who go out of their way to help a lady trying to make it on her own.

Days of Vengeance: Western author Kent Conwell of Port Neches has written a fast-paced tale set in Arizona territory – Days of Vengeance (Leisure Books, $6.99 paperback).

Ben Elliott and other ranchers find themselves besieged by someone who is obviously trying to drive them from their land. First come the cattle rustlers, then the stakes get considerably more deadly.

When Elliott’s best friend is killed and Elliott is cheated out of his property, he vows vengeance on the man he has determined is trying to run off all the ranchers and claim their land for himself.

Relying on the lessons learned when he lived with the Apaches as a boy, Elliott sets out to even the score and bring the offender to justice.

Conwell, a prolific author of Westerns and mysteries, also has several new titles from Avalon Books, which markets novels primarily to libraries. Recent hardback titles ($23.95) include a Western – Shootout on the Sabine – and two contemporary Tony Boudreaux mysteries – An Unmarked Grave and The Puzzle of Piri Reis. Inquire at your library about these and other Conwell stories.