Friday, May 22, 2015

Double Take FFB Review: "Outrage At Blanco" by Bill Crider

Another Friday is upon us and that means it is time once again for Friday’s Forgotten Books hosted by Patti Abbott. Today, at Barry’s suggestion, we are doing something a bit different. It has been quite some time since he and I have done our double take review segment on a book. Barry knew I had read this western and really enjoyed it so he picked it up to see what he thought. After reading Outrage At Blanco he suggested we do one of our double take deals and make it part of an FFB posting.

Seemed like a good idea to me so Barry leads off with his review followed by mine…

OUTRAGE AT BLANCO (1998) by Bill Crider

Reviewed by Barry Ergang

“Jink Howard sat in the shade of a tree and ate tomatoes out of a can while Ben Atticks raped the woman in the wagon bed.”

So opens this irresistibly readable western novel by Bill Crider.

The nature of a crime doesn’t matter to Jink and Ben; they’re equal-opportunity amorals. Once Ben is finished with the woman, Jink takes over.  Waiting to meet up with Daniel O’Grady, with whom they served time in prison and with whom they intend to rob the bank in the placid town of Blanco, they encounter Ellie Taine not far from its outskirts and decide to have their brutal way with her.  

The subsequent robbery doesn’t go anywhere close to as smoothly as intended, and Jink and Ben add multiple murders to their list of crimes. The plunder is only a fraction of what was promised, which results in some internecine warfare.

For their own individual reasons, Ellie Taine and Jonathan Crossland set out in pursuit of Jink and Ben. Crossland, an elderly tough-minded local rancher who has worked hard and honestly for many years to attain his wealth, is a man afflicted with a “wasting disease,” who knows his time is nearly up, but who doesn’t plan to concede to his ne’er-do-well son Gerald—or anyone else, for that matter—that he’s willing to die passively in bed.

To provide a broader perspective, heighten tension and suspense, and add character depth, Crider takes the reader into the minds and points of view of the principal characters. Ellie Taine’s is the foremost, and her internal conflicts depict her as a woman who wants both justice and revenge while at the same time seeking acceptance and a kind of absolution.

Written in Crider’s clear, uncluttered style, Outrage at Blanco is a fast-moving novel packed with action and drama that is genuinely hard to put down and that should appeal to most fans of westerns. Strongly recommended.

© 2015 Barry Ergang

Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s written work has appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. Some of it is available at Amazon and at Smashwords. His website is

My review from March 2014…….

A trip to town and back for Ellie Taine has gone very wrong as this western from author Bill Crider begins. Just outside of the small Texas town of Blanco she had made the mistake of stopping for the two men who seemed friendly. As it became clear they had something else on their minds, she thought they only meant to rob her.  Unfortunately for Ellie, robbery wasn’t what they wanted. Ben Atticks and Jink Howard wanted something much more personal to Ellie than the few items she had purchased in town at Roger's Mercantile.

When they were done with her they left her alive. That was another mistake in a long line of mistakes in their criminal careers. What happened to Ellie is just part of this very good western from Texas author Bill Crider.

Originally published in 1998 by Dell Books, Outrage at Blanco is now available as an e-book. Reminiscent of The Baby Shark Series by Robert Fate in that a rape spurs a woman to seek justice on her own, this western set in the Hill Country of Texas features a number of interesting characters. A complicated tale of vengeance and redemption for several characters results in a book that moves forward at a rapid pace despite the many players and almost as many agendas.

Outrage at Blanco (Ellie Taine)
Bill Crider
June 2013
240 Pages

Material was picked up during the author’s recent free book promotion for my use in an objective review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2014, 2015

A couple of other brief notes:

The sequel to Outrage at Blanco (Ellie Taine) is titled Texas Vigilante (Ellie Taine Book Two). I reviewed it last October here. I also highly recommend this read.

By the way Barry and I also did a Double Take FFB Review on Mr. Crider’s The Blacklin County Files: 5 Sheriff Dan Rhodes Stories back in July 2013. You can read that review here.


TracyK said...

Two great reviews here. Both of them make me want to read a book that sounds like it might be grittier than my usual mystery reading.

I am new to Crider's works. Just read the first Dan Rhodes book recently and have a few more in that series.

R.K. Robinson said...

This is an excellent novel; that it's a western is almost incidental other than t allows the setting in which the action occurs. Really fine writing.