So rather than give you three reviews of mediocre books, I’m going to do a summary post and give you my quick reactions to books #2, 3, and 4 in the Reno Western Saga by Gilbert Morris. My review of book one in the series is here: Reno by Gilbert Morris
Marshal Jesse Lindsey has done his best to keep the peace in Rimrock. But the marshal is showing his age, and the wild frontier town needs a strong man to keep a lid on the violence.
For a book that claims to be the second in a “series,” I expected to have some kind of tie-in to the first book. It didn’t. Catherine was gone and never to be seen again. WTF?! How can a book leave off with a budding love story and return to never speak of it again, no questions asked? I get that Reno is a drifter and doesn’t stay in one place very long – but some kind of transition could have been used. I’d have been happy with a sentence saying that he couldn’t stay with Catherine because X.
Despite the glaring lack of cohesion, I liked this book better than Reno. I thought the supporting characters were more dynamic and much easier to like. I’ve been partial to Sheriffs in westerns since July Johnson in Lonesome Dove. Jesse Lindsey was just as easy to like. His character was a bit flat, but he reminded me of one of those loveable older men like Andy on The Andy Griffith Show, so I was rooting for him from the beginning.
Reno’s relationship with the whore was a little formulaic, but I was touched at the end (no spoilers! It’s dramatic). The other thing that REALLY was bizarre was that a half brother and sister fell in love. THEY HAVE THE SAME DAD. That’s weird, right? Even for the late nineteenth century that was weird. Dunno what Morris was thinking there.
Overall, Rimrock was predictable …. but good. I enjoyed it. If you want a good dialog driven fluff book, this one is for you.
ride the wild river
This book is about a young boy in trouble who claims to be the drifter’s cousin. The drifter must help the boy out of danger before he gets hurt.
Julie runs away from her step-father after he tries to seduce/rape/marry her. She disguises herself as a boy and travels to Oregon with her two black servants. On the way, she finds her cousin, Jim Reno and convinces him to accompany them. However, Reno doesn’t know that Dooley (Julie’s boy name) is a girl.
Ride the Wild River was definitely my favorite so far because Reno wasn’t the main character. I cared more for Dooley and her struggles. One major plus is that there is a TON of tie-in with the previous book. I never had a WTF moment. Reno and Lee (the boy Reno kinda-sorta adopts at the end of book 2) are back. Reno has become a drunk (because of reasons that would spoil the end of the second book) and goes through his own soul searching transformation process.
This book was full of everything I love: a wagon train to Oregon, altercations with Indians – albeit stereotypical Indians, mutiny in the wagon train, a jail bust and a daring escape, and a girl dressed up like a boy who is in love with Jim. They ride the wild river in a pretty epic conclusion.
Overall, Morris is at his best with Ride the Wild River. Pure entertainment for those who are addicted to the West, like me.
Reno may face more than he can handle. The Innocents are determined to stop Reno and the vigilantes. So is Saul Logan, a crooked saloon owner. And Logan’s cold blooded gunslinger brother is more than willing to put Reno out of commission. Book 4 in the Reno Western Saga.
The plot of Boomtown is very similar to that of Reno. Bullies are controlling the town and scaring the miners off their claims. Only Reno can rally the troops to fight them. Ho-hum. It was really hard for me to finish this book. About halfway through I asked myself if taking the time to finish it was even worth it. But, I hate not finishing a book so I pushed through. The end was much better than the beginning so ultimately I was happy I finished it.
Lee and Dooley are back in Boomtown. I was pleasantly surprised that they made it to another book. That’s a plus.
The minus: everything else. The plot was contrived. The characters were flat. Reno meets yet ANOTHER love interest that he’ll leave later. Meh. The only character who was remotely interesting was Zane Logan, brother of evil Saul Logan. He grows and changes and seems the most real to me. His entrance in the book (the last 1/3) is what kept me from throwing the book down and never finishing it. So hooray for Zane.
If you’re reading the series, go ahead and read Boomtown. It’s not Morris’s best work, but it can still be entertaining at times.
© 2012, Jessica Workman Holland. All rights reserved.