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Wind River Kindle Edition
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Anyway, when the story opens, the young town of Wind River has just become the western terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad. Railroad construction has brought some undesirable characters with it, from rough-and-tumble track workers to shiftless drifters or “hardcases” with seemingly no other purpose than to cause trouble. Violent clashes between these two groups have drawn attention to the need for law and order in the town. With work on the tracks recently completed, the citizens of Wind River gather to celebrate the arrival of the first locomotive. A fistfight breaks out among the crowd, and one of the town’s eminent founders is killed by a stray gunshot. Present at the incident is Cole Tyler, who has been hunting buffalo in the region, providing meat for the railroad workers. When the trouble goes down at the train station, he demonstrates a level head, a quick draw, and a commanding presence that demands respect. Tyler is invited to serve as the town’s first marshal, and he reluctantly accepts. He soon finds himself not only keeping the peace in this frontier town, but also working to solve a murder.
I’m not a habitual reader of westerns but I am an avid fan of western films. Wind River reads as if it were written with hopes of a movie adaptation. Each scene and character is familiar, like those you’ve seen in countless westerns on the silver screen, yet Reasoner and Washburn skillfully manipulate the players in this drama to keep the story from being bogged down in western clichés. The introduction of each new character is intriguing, as each has their own personal mysteries that keep the reader engaged. Since this is a town western rather than a range western, you not only get cowboys and cattle rustlers but an entire ensemble cast of characters including the doctor, the newspaper editor, the blacksmith, and the woman who runs the local cafe. This opens up a lot of narrative possibilities and provides a broader picture of western life than a simple good vs. evil shoot-’em-up, though it’s still a romanticized depiction of the West.
As the book goes on, Wind River becomes less like a movie and more like a TV series, along the lines of Gunsmoke or Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman. As the mystery reaches its resolution and the bad guys are revealed, the story lines become more predictable, and the action starts to feel safe. It becomes apparent that this will be the first novel in a Wind River series, and once the reader figures that out then it’s obvious that none of the important characters will die, since they all have to return for the next installment. As the stakes become lower, the novel becomes less exciting, and one can expect the ending to be wrapped up with a neat little bow.
Still, Wind River is better than a lot of western literature I’ve read. Like the TV series mentioned above, it’s easy to get involved with these characters. Though I generally prefer my western tales darker and grittier, I might pick up the next Wind River book the next time I go to Wyoming.
Despite the fact that Wind River has came a long way towards civilization there were still outbreaks of violence, just not as often as when the town was first established.
The town council is even considering letting Deputy Billy Casebolt go & that's something that Marshal Cole Tyler will not allow to happen even if he has to pay the deputy out of his own money.
As you will see though, the town council is about to have a great awakening because the peacefulness is about to come to an abrupt end & the council will find that in order to keep the peace they still will have to have dedicated law enforcement officers & Wind City could not be in more capable hands than Marshal Tyler & Deputy Casebolt.
As I said earlier, this leaves open for the definite continuance of the series & as a fan I look forward to more books about Wind River & all the friends I have made while reading the seven books. Cleanly written, exciting & a great look at the old west & the wonderful people that make up the town & surrounding area of Wind River.
My only complaint and the reason for four stars is that you are left with questions at the end in some of the books that are not answered in the next book. A couple unanswered questions were a bit frustrating. HOWEVER, Wind River is an exciting series to read.