© 1983, Doubleday, Garden City, NY
Loren Estleman is an award-winning writer in both the mystery and the western genres. He excels when writing westerns. Mister St. John is a trail’s end novel that chronicles the very end of the era of ‘cowboys and Indians’.
The result is a motley crew made up of an old Indian tracker who had worked with St. John in the Nations (and who brought with him a sharp-shooter who once was the prey that the lawman had hunted—and who is going blind, too boot), a reprobate Sunday school teacher on the run from a town sheriff he had left for dead, and a couple of Mexican bandidos who hired on for the money.
Estleman’s expertise at spinning a story is evident in what you read here. And the occasional mention of an automobile has its own place in this turn of the century setting. Telephones are also a new-fangled tool used by these gun-toting, horse-riding, rough and tumble hombres.
This is western writing as it should be—even in the twentieth century. It is better fare than the house-name dime novels that usually grace the “westerns” shelves in your local bookstore. Even so, the fans of those serial westerns will enjoy this book as well. (4 out of 5 reading glasses).