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Roy Bean's Gold: A Western Story (Five Star First Edition Western) Hardcover – February 17, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

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

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Product Details

  • Series: Five Star First Edition Western
  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Five Star (February 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594148392
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594148392
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,161,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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W.R. Garwood's new novel, "Roy Bean's Gold," is a journey from Kentucky to California and from San Diego to the northern gold fields in that state during the years immediately following the gold rush of '49. Attacked by Comanches, Roy's nefarious companion is killed, leaving him a money belt with thousands of dollars in gold coins.

Young Roy continues on his way to San Diego where he will find his brother, Josh, who is alcalde of that town. As the tale unravels, Roy becomes involved with a wealthy Mexican family that includes beautiful women, a mysterious and equally beautiful survivor of another Indian raid, and a host of subsidiary stablemen and cowboys, both Mexicans and Gringos, amicable friends and deadly foes. From there, the plot becomes dominated by his pursuit of the source of the fabulous horde of gold coins and his lust for two of the women.

"Roy Bean's Gold" is clearly a plot-driven novel awash with lovely senoritas, their patrons, the likes of Joaquin Murieta and highway assassins. The reader is sometimes lost in the myriad tangles of the many people parading across author Gardwood's stage, but is also rescued by the first person narrative of Roy Bean.

I believe it is the "voice" in Mr. Garwood's personal narrative that saves the book, "Roy Bean's Gold." The author's "mode" lends an undeniable authenticity that reveals the otherwise unbending, cardboard characters where good men are always noble and the bad men and women are always suspect. His western country "lingo" both places and educates us to period, mid-nineteenth century colloguial speech, e.g., "tagged by an old she-wolf of a duena," and "the early sun was just spilling its beans over the eastern foothills.
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