I admit it. I’m not too familiar with westerns. Aside from a few choice Elmore Leonards, I really haven’t read any. I’m sorry! I’m willing to become more educated after reading the fine novel The Rattlesnake Season by Larry D. Sweazy. This is the type of book that further proves that genre literature ought to be respected more. Just like “literary” fiction, the best genre fiction tends to have its focus on its characters. Season is no exception as it introduces Josiah Wolfe, a resurrected Texas Ranger in the 1870s.
In its haunting prologue, Wolfe loses his wife during the birth of his son. Years pass and the son is older. In order to provide for his smaller family, he rejoins the Rangers. His first assignment is to bring the criminal Charlie Langdon back to Austin (That’s my name!) to be hung. The task is anything but simple and that is one of the reasons this is such a compelling read. There’s a real sense of place and time that never feels over-explained, which tends to happen in lesser historical novels. It’s a very strong debut and I can’t wait to see more in the series.