Trails of the Wild: Seven Tales of the Old West” book opens up with “Rattler” by James Reasoner. Texas Ranger Cobb and bank robber Franklin Harmon have had a gun battle going for the past hour. The large boulders were the only cover from the shots from Harmon and Cobb knew there was a big risk of a snake being in the rocks when he took cover in them. But, with his horse dead and no other cover around in the surrounding Texas landscape he didn’t have much of a choice. Cobb isn’t about to let a big fat diamondback rattler lying across his legs from stopping him from what needs to be done.
“The True Story of Boy Kaleen” by Patti Abbott comes next. The California Gold Rush is on and his Ma worked as an entertainer in one of the hundreds of saloons that serve the area miners and more. Eventually Ma got pregnant and delivered Tom and Kaleen. Their quest to know who their father was began.
He had been told not to stop in Cougar Springs. Once there he had been helpfully advised to leave town as fast as possible. Having rode more than 50 miles across Colorado he isn’t about to keep riding as the fading mining town does have a saloon. That will help him rid himself of his thirst, but not the ghost named Davy who haunts him in “Too Many Crocketts” by Evan Lewis.
Howey Simpson rides for the Hashknife Outfit. At least the work is steady in “Line Rider” by Chuck Tyrell. It is winter and he is stuck working out of a shack on the line midway to Chintz, but the solitude and the routine don’t bother him at all. Then, one night, a beautiful Navajo woman by the name of Doli showed up and everything changed.
Jackson was late getting back and something very bad has happened in “A Decent Man” by Kieran Shea. His sister Sarah named the guilty man as “Azariah Thorpe” and says that afterwards he bragged he was going south to Kansas City. Thorpe is a dead man once Jackson gets to him.
Having a reputation as a bad man can keep folks out of your way. In “Day Of Reckoning” by Matthew Pizzolato a man by the name of Wesley Quaid has that reputation. A reputation hard earned and he has the skills to back it up when need be. His skills are about to be needed as Horace and his family are being harassed on the street just outside the bar.
The majority of the book is the novella “The Empty Badge” by Wayne D. Dundee. U. S. Marshall Cash Laramie has been tracking the Driscoll Gang and is moving in on them despite the stormy night. They are holed up in a shallow cave and he means to get them all— dead or alive. At least that was the plan before all heck broke loose.
The seven stories of Trails of the Wild: Seven Tales of the Old West are all good ones. Featuring a group of prolific and talented authors, the book has plenty of solidly good old fashioned western action and adventure and is very good from start to finish. The book most definitely is a good one and well worth your time.
Trails of the Wild: Seven Tales of the Old West
Edited by David Cranmer
Beat To A Pulp
Material provided by editor and publisher David Cranmer for my use in an objective review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2014