Wednesday 18 April 2012

[Book Review] The Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Vol. II

Way back in December I posted my review of The Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, a collection of seven short stories set in the old West. Given how much I enjoyed the first collection, it was hardly surprising that I would also buy the second collection, entitled simply The Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Vol. II.

Edward Grainger starts proceedings with The Origins of White Deer, the longest piece in the book, which explains the origins of our adopted Arapaho hero, Cash Laramie. Written in a somewhat different style from the other stories, it contrasts Laramie's background among the tribe wonderfully and adds a new dimension of depth to the tough lawman. It would be all-too-easy for Laramie to descend into parody, or preachiness, but this particular story gives a new backdrop to his brand of outpost law.

The other six stories in the collection are just as riveting, pitting Laramie against the harsh realities of life in nineteenth century Cheyenne. Prejudice and race relations again are rife in these adventures, particularly where Laramie's partner, Gideon Miles are concerned. Miles in particular is a favoured character of mine, and his gentle humour contrasts nicely with Laramie's flinty outlook.

There is something incredibly cinematic about these tales, and Grainger doesn't feel the need to throw page after page of lush description at his reader in order for them to see what Laramie sees, and hear the world around him. This is the old West through a wide angle lens, somehow both epic in scope, yet deeply personal at the same time. That's no mean feat to pull off, but just goes to show what a talented writer Grainger is.

Writing Westerns myself might leave me open to accusations of being biased towards Grainger's work (although you'd never level the same accusation at a horror writer reviewing a Stephen King book) but I really think that Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles are the perfect pair to bring Westerns back from the brink, and re-establish them as modern myths based on an all-too-real period of history.

Five blunt pencils out of five!

Available from Amazon US for $1.23 or Amazon UK for 77p!


David Cranmer said...

Very kind words. Thank you so much for the review, Icy. Deeply appreciated.

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