Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: Showdown at Yellow Butte by Louis l'Amour

Challenge 6: Genre Switch-up

Challenge description -  Go to this list of book genres and pick a genre that you have NEVER read before. Find a book from that genre, read it, and write about it.

I have had never read a Western nor have I ever had any inclination to do so. My Dad loved them and used to tell me I didn't know what I was missing but never convinced me to try one. His favourite author was Louis L'Amour so it was with thoughts of my Dad and how he would be laughing that I chose to read a Western for this challenge.

Showdown at Yellow Butte by Louis L'Amour

Tom Kedrick earned his stripes during the Civil War, fought Apaches and even soldiered overseas. But in the high desert country of New Mexico, the battle-hardened Kedrick is entangled in a different kind of war, fuled by greed and deception. Hired by Alton Burwick to drive a pack of renegades and outlaws off government land recently set aside for an Indian reservation, Kedrick begins to notice that things are not as they seem. As his suspicions grow, he realises he may be fighting on the wrong side of a crooked land dispute. Disilluisioned and outraged, Kedrick must take action against the very people who hired him, or be forced to witness the bloody massacre of innocent men and women.

At only 166 pages it's not a long book and easily read in an afternoon. Louis L'Amour doesn't waste a word and from the opening paragraph...
"Everything was quiet in Mustang. Three whole days had passed without a killing. The townfolk, knowing their community, were not fooled.They had long resigned themselves to the inevitable. In fact they would be relieved  when the situation was back to normal - a killing every day; more on hot days. Several days without deadly gun play built up a mounting tension that was unbearable."
....that is exactly what he does - builds the tension and suspense non-stop. His descriptions of the characters , the country and the action are so vivid I was taken back to the old Western movies - John Wayne and Gary Cooper swaggering along that dusty main street and busting through saloon doors. And there's even a nice little romance and a mystery to solve as a break from the gunfights. Louis L'Amour said " I'd liked to be remembered as a storyteller - a good storyteller."  and there is no doubt he will be. Very entertaining!

So after all these years I have read a Western - I doubt I'll ever read another one but I have to admit......"it weren't 'alf bad, Dad".

Colourful Reading Challenge


  1. Last night blogger ate my comment. Let's see if a different PC will get it through :)

    I have read L'Amour yet, but I really liked Owen Wister's Virginian. Very different from the TV series.

  2. I haven't read any of L'Amour's books but he's still hugely popular. You should give westerns another try and read Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. It's a fantastic reading experience!

  3. I read a Louis L'Amour book last year in honor of my dad because he loved Westerns. I thought it was good, but not amazing. But like you said, not half bad either.

  4. I have read everything Louis wrote except his book of poetry, and I have never seen a copy or I would have probably read that too. I startted reading his works in 1960 and have read all of them more than once. Sacketts are my favorites and Flint is a great novel. Over thirty of his books hace been made into movies.
    Rest in Peace Louis.