From Publishers Weekly
Before Judge Roy Bean became infamous as the whiskey-soaked law west of the Pecos, he was just a randy 23-year-old pistolero who chased women and gold in 1849 California. Garwood's latest western (following Hunt Down Harry Tracey
), his sixth, is a colorfully revisionist tale of young Roy on the hunt for a hidden treasure, smitten by two deadly women, and in the gun sights of California's most vicious bandido. Roy is a cheeky, likeable fellow, a clever opportunist whose lust for the saucy teenage Dulcima and her voluptuous aunt, Red Rosita, gets in the way of his search for a stolen army payroll. Soon, however, dangerous characters learn of the treasure with Roy the only one who has the cryptic map describing the gold's location. While he's deciphering it, his rivals have plenty of time to plan ambushes and murder, and everyone gets to fire guns with much gusto and some accuracy. This smart and fun western is loaded with suspense, action, and intrigue. (Feb.)
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This novel explores the (fictional) early years of Roy Bean, who would later become famous as a judge, saloon keeper, and all-around flamboyant fella. The tale is set in 1849, when Bean was in his mid-twenties. Narrated by Bean, it’s the story of the young man’s brief partnership with an outlaw, and Bean’s subsequent quest for the outlaw’s buried gold. Like Richard Matheson in The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickock (1996), Garwood creates a fictional person who seems to fit with the mythology surrounding the actual person: Bean might not have lived the events in this book, but if he had, he probably would have lived them the way Garwood describes it. Leaving aside the Bean-as-fictional-character element, the novel is a lot of fun––excitingly written, with a captivating narrator and plenty of action. A good time will be had by all. --David Pitt