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Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles (Volume 1) Paperback – July 5, 2016
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After a short introduction by Chris F. Holm, it is on to stories starting with “The Wind Scorpion.” The plan had been to escort a prisoner by the name of Black Jack Larson to Cheyenne, Wyoming to stand trial for the murder of a circuit judge. Instead, the plan now is to somehow stay alive as Black Jack, with the help of two of his men, have beaten the heck out of Marshal Cash Laramie and left him to die while making good on their escape.
“Kid Eddie” features a young man being held in jail in Vermillion for various heinous crimes. It is about a year after events in “Wind Scorpion” and Cash is well aware that duplicity can come in many forms. Cash doesn’t want to go anywhere Vermillion but when Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Devon Penn tells him to bring “Kid Eddie” aka Eddie Morash back Cash saddles up and goes because he has a job to do.
“Miles To Go” unites Cash Laramie and his friend and fellow Marshal, Gideon Miles, in the hunt for Van Jones. Though it does not look that way as this complicated story begins with Miles hitting the trail alone. Both lawmen know that van Jones is heading for his hideout near the owl Creek Mountains. Once there he will have his gang backing him while Cash has to stay in town and testify in court regarding another matter.
People keep dying at the McAllister family plot. Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles are in Twin Falls trying to figure out what is going on in “The Bone Orchard Mystery.”
Child abuse didn’t just start in the last few decades despite what some of the media claims these days. It is the subject of the powerfully moving story “Melanie” where Cash Laramie intervenes to make things a bit better for the young girl.
“Under the Sun” with Sandra Seamans comes next where the window Delilah Murphy does not want the assistance of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. Her Uncle Charlie thought their help would be a good idea, but she has her reasons for not wanting their help. They don’t have time to press the issue as they are searching for a man known as “Brave Coyote.” They are not only ones looking for him as the father of a boy Brave Coyote killed is also on the hunt.
“The Outlaw Marshall” opens with a poker game. Cash Laramie is the subject, among others, as the men play cards. Because it soon becomes clear that at least one of the players is a card cheat one knows gunfire is sure to soon erupt.
A body is on a bank of a Louisiana bayou and the spilling blood is attracting an alligator looking to do what comes naturally. The man who is known to many as “The Lawyer” is fine with that as he wants a few more questions answered. He isn’t the only one with questions in this tale as Marshall Cash Laramie will soon be involved.
The eight western tales in the Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles are all good ones. Cash and Gideon are bonded by friendship as well as the fact that neither one is accepted as he is by many people. That bond also extends to their code of justice which requires each one to do what is right as opposed what the law says in some cases. Each tale is more than just a story of men on horseback getting the bad guy or bad guys. Each tale is complicated with plenty of interesting characters, a mystery or two, and plenty of action to keep the reader turning the pages. Whether the Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles is your first exposure to cash and Gideon or one you come to after many other books in the series, these reads are all good ones well worth your time.
This is one of those cases where I am not sure if the author sent it to me or I bought it using funds in my Amazon associate account. Either is possible, but I suspect the author sent in my way for my use in an objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2015
Meanwhile, Gideon Miles is the sort of Old West lawman who could exist only in fiction. He is a black man wearing a badge at a time when such a thing was unheard of. Long before full racial equality was an even remotely conceivable idea for most Americans, Cash and Miles are loyal friends and sometimes work together.
In this collection of nine stories, Cranmer teams up with western writer Chuck Tyrell on two of them, “Legends,” and “Property of a Gunfighter.” The first takes us from the 1880s to 1921, and the action takes place in New Orleans, where the two heroes are older and living very different lives. But the past has a way of catching up with them.
“Property of a Gunfighter” is my favorite of the whole lot, partly because it deftly mixes history with fiction, plus a well-known western movie star, in the recounting of an incident in which Cash crosses paths with Wyatt Earp in Nome, Alaska, during the gold rush years.
The story is told by Wyatt’s wife Sadie to a news reporter, who has more than a casual connection to Cash. This blending of fact and fiction is particularly entertaining, especially in its evocation of the spirited Mrs. Earp as the narrator. (I was reminded of Allan Gurganus’s novel, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All.).
With this new collection, Cranmer has done something you don’t often find in western fiction, bringing characters forward in time so that we see them not only age but reflect the changing social environment. In New Orleans, for instance, we find our heroes as retired lawmen in a world of Prohibition, speakeasies, and jazz music. We’re not in Cheyenne anymore. Cranmer has done the traditional western a great service by nudging it away from its time-worn conventions and stereotypes and injecting it with several leaps of the imagination.
Cash and Gideon roam the Old West, righting wrongs, standing up for those who cannot stand for themselves, etc. Every trope you can think of is used, but Edward A. Grainger puts a subtle yet distinctive twist on each and every one. This particular volume is a collection of short stories, each one an adventure of its own, each ending leading the boys into more and more trouble.
Mr. Grainger's writing is somber without being maudlin, and there is a touch of light-heartedness throughout that makes it that much more enjoyable.
I give this one 5 Stars, and look forward to more adventures of Laramie and Miles!