Sunday, March 18, 2018

“Sackett,” by Louis L'Amour

FM's ratings:
  1. Premise 8
  2. Prose 7
  3. Plot 8
  4. Characters 7
  5. Overall 8
Comments (optional - but try to keep it under 3000 words!)

A while back, I picked up a book by Mr. L'Amour - "The Haunted Mesa" - with the idea of finally getting around to experiencing what it's like to read him. My grandfather as well as many of his peers was a huge fan of Louis L'Amour and I had finally gotten past my aversion to all things Western to give it a shot. (The excellent movie, "Silverado," probably played a large role in this.) As it turned out, "The Haunted Mesa" takes place in the modern-day Four Corners area, so when I finished, I still hadn't accomplished my purpose! Well, this time I made sure I knew what I was reading, and sure enough, found the book quite enjoyable. The man can write. That's a great start in itself. The best surprise, though not an unexpected one, was that L'Amour's descriptions of the natural world of the Rocky Mountain area in particular, are very impressive. The lawlessness, the utter dependence on one's own resources, the relentlessness of the weather and the elements: all these things really hit home in the first-person narrative of a relatively uneducated, but otherwise very savvy protagonist. Throughout the story, our hero compares himself unfavorably to his well-educated brothers, who nevertheless can shoot a gun as well as he can and track an animal or man almost as well. He carries a law book by Blackstone with him wherever he goes and tries to get as much meaning from his awkward attempts at reading it as he can. He feels that a "real" man should be educated as well, though other characters in the story think of him as one of a rare breed of "real" men due to his abilities as a marksman, tracker, and survivor of impossible odds. This is great Escapist reading, especially today when more and more of us are becoming strangers to the wild. Yes, there are more of these wonderful novels in my future!

Here’s the April line-up!
"The Silent Corner," by Dean Koontz [4-7-18]
"The Forever Man," by Gordon R. Dickson [4-14-18]
"The Black Cat Knocks on Wood," by Kay Finch [4-21-18]
"The Good, the Bad, and the Undead," by Kim Harrison [4-28-18]