Thursday, August 06, 2015

Review: "Ryan Rides Back: A Wild West Story" by Bill Crider

It has been three long years since that late fall night that Ryan vanished from Tularosa. Many in the western town thought he was dead. Considering the physical shape he is in now as he rides into town it is amazing he didn’t die that night when Kane and his men ambushed him outside of town. Considering the shape he is in mentally something in him did die that night.

One of those ambushers was a Kane brother known to one and all as Bill Kane who is about to hang for the murder of Ryan’s sister, Sally. Whether he did it or not is not the issue for many in the town who feel the tyranny of the Kane family. It didn’t take the jury long to convict him of the murder. After all, Bill Kane was found standing over the body by Pat Congrady who runs the hardware store. The same Pat Congrady that everyone around knew loved Sally and knew would never hurt her. The fact that a Kane was involved and thus could be punished for the sins of the family meant more too many than whether or not he actually did it.

Pat Congrady had been planning on marrying Sally Ryan right up until she died. It had been three long years because everything changed when Ryan vanished. Kane got the Ryan land leaving Sally nothing but a small shack to live in. After Ryan vanished and everyone thought he was dead, Sally was never the same and won’t be ever again.

Why Ryan is back isn’t clear to anyone---even Ryan himself. The events that happened that night in Shatter’s Grove changed the lives of all who were there and several that we are not. Ryan is back and will be forced to confront his past and the legacy he left behind.

A solidly good western with a couple of surprises along the way, Ryan Rides Back: A Wild West Story is a read far different from the author’s various mystery series. A western novel of personal redemption and forgiveness, much of the read is spent in the past as Ryan tries to adjust to life in the present. Delving deep into the psyche of the main character means that some of the various distant secondary characters are little more than one dimensional type figures with little depth to them. Interspersed with Ryan’s journey of redemption, are sections devoted to other important characters and their perspective. Their various situations are often complicated and were changed significantly; either directly by the events in Shatter’s Grove and his subsequent disappearance or indirectly by way of ripple effects. Ryan Rides Back: A Wild West Story is a solidly good western tale that works well from start to finish.

Ryan Rides Back: A Wild West Story
Bill Crider
Crossroad Press & Macabre Ink Digital
September 2010
188 Pages

Material was recently purchased to read and review using funds in my Amazon Associate account.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2015


Bill Crider said...

Thanks, Kevin!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Sounds like an excellent read!

Mary Holshouser said...

I read the last Dan Rhodes book and enjoyed it so that I had to go back and start at the beginning. I'm about half-way through and will be sorry to get to the finish.
I will have to try this book and see if it can live up to expectations about Rhodes.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Thing to remember is, while good, these westerns of his and there are quite a few are very different than the Rhodes series. The same is true for his other mystery series.