Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: The Traditional West

The Traditional West: A Western Fictioneers Anthology
Western Fictioneers, 2011

I've been so busy this past year getting my grandfather's anthology of short stories out that I've been behind in reading up on other western fiction short story collections are coming out. I'm really glad that someone tipped me off on this new book, THE TRADITIONAL WEST, a collection of brand-new stories written by members of the Western Fictioneers group.

Western Fictioneers is an online group that was founded in 2010 to promote the oldest genuine American art form, the Western story. This anthology is their first and contains 24 stories by Steven Clark, Phil Dunlap, Edward A. Grainger, James J. Griffin, Jerry Guin, C. Courtney Joyner, Jackson Lowry, Larry Jay Martin, Matthew P. Mayo, Rod Miller, Clay More, Ross Morton, Kerry Newcomb, Scott D. Parker, Pete Peterson, Cheryl Pierson, Kit Prate, Robert J. Randisi, James Reasoner, Dusty Richards, Troy D. Smith, Larry D. Sweazy, Chuck Tyrell, and L.J. Washburn. With original cover artwork by acclaimed artist Pete Peterson, THE TRADITIONAL WEST is more than 100,000 words of classic Western fiction.

I particularly enjoyed stories by C. Courtney Joyner, Matthew Mayo and L.J. Washburn, Chuck Tyrell and Edward Grainger’s stories. But with two dozen stories, there is something for everyone.

Jackson Lowry’s “The Silver Noose” is the mystery of why a man is hanged after he was already dead. In Larry Sweazy’s “Lost Mountain Pass,” Hank Snowden wants to get out of town but ends up being an escort to a woman whose three brothers were just hanged and who now fears for her own life. Scott D. Parker’s “The Poker Payout” takes place over a poker game in which Calvin Carter is on the prowl of a robber, with the entire story played out during a card game. With Robert Randisi’s “Blood Trail to Dodge,” we are treated to the beginning chapters of a new series featuring Talbot Roper, a private investigator. James Reasoner’s Rattler is a quick but unforgettable tale about a man caught in a hole with a rattlesnake and an armed enemy bearing down on him. And what I think is my top favorite is Troy D. Smith’s “The Sin of Eli,” a beautifully written story about a father trying to get to his son before he is executed, but it’s not because of reasons you may think.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this collection for readers who have been hungry for fine new western fiction short stories. In THE TRADITIONAL WEST, you’ll get this and more: these stories are written by some of the finest writers in the business today.
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Cap'n Bob said...

Amen, sister. I read it a few weeks ago and enjoyed them all.

WV: Mancome. I wouldn't touch that one with a ten-foot fork.

Steve M said...

Great review Laurie.

Funny you should post it now as I've just posted a review of it too.

Matthew P. Mayo said...

Thanks for the review, Laurie. I'm pleased to hear you like my story. It borders on tall-tale territory and was a lot of fun to write.

I'm still making my way through the anthology and loving it. It's a jam-packed doozy that showcases the broad range of talent in the WF group and the wide range of the Western genre.

Scott Parker said...

Much obliged for the good review. I am quite honored to be among the great writers in this collection. Like Matthew, I'm still reading through all the other stories. I've loved all the ones I've read so far.

Troy D. Smith said...

Thanks for the review, and your kind words about my contribution are greatly appreciated. I'm hoping we get more of these in the chute, I enjoyed reading it very much indeed.