Ride Tall, Hang High

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Ride Tall Or Hang High (The Outlaws Series)

Last Free Dates: 25th May 20 to 27th May 20
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...Older readers might find this cliché, younger ones might prefer trope-tastic, but for Western readers it hits every note right....

From the moment of their murderous jailbreak, Ride Tall, Hang High takes the reader on a ride along with Willy Boy’s gang through the bank robberies and heists to a trip through Willy’s memories and how he got to this point.

The story is told in third person, jumping viewpoint characters for some sections, so we get to see what others are thinking. The writing fits: brusque, no frills, with a few sly and outright funny turns of phrase, like taking a saloon girl upstairs after a philosophical discussion to “explore her inner self”.

The Sheriff and the good guys are a little cardboard and barely fleshed out, but then it is not their story. This is the story of the black hats-murderers liars and thieves Рstarting with one murder and ending with another, and its a thundering ride along the way. The gang members themselves are built on Western stereotypes: the Native tracker, the gambler, the young outlaw etc. They even wear black hats, chosen deliberately as a plot point to help them identify other members in fights. Older readers might find this clich̩, younger ones might prefer trope-tastic, but for Western readers it hits every note right.

I’d say this is suitable for teen and up, with the age of the characters and the restrained nature of the injuries and limited gore. There’s plenty of innuendo, but no overtly adult scenes: the best way I can think to describe it is “movie cowboy violence”: Shane rather than Roy Rogers, but not Unforgiven. That said it is a tough and gritty world: the oldest member of the gang is twenty-four and the others don’t expect to live that long. Each of them has a back story, barely fleshed out, although we learn more of Willy’s than any of the others. I’d expect the others to be expanded in later books in the series.

It is easy to get caught up in the story, and while I despised Willy’s attitude to crime and murder, I found myself hoping he would stay ahead of the law just long enough to kill the man who shot his father and tried to murder him. There’s no reflection on their actions, even as the bodycount rises, but then are desperate men with their own drives and goals.

Overall, this is one Western fans should pick up. It is the first of a series, and there’s a lot of material here, revenge, quests, family, for it to explore.

4 for its audience, Three for anyone else.

Rating: 4
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Jackie (18 February 2018)
I've never read anything from the western genre before but this sounds like something I could possibly be interested in reading. I'm always a little wary of action-driven books because I feel like they can skim over character development a bit too much for my tastes. It doesn't sound like that's an issue in this book, despite the heavy use of stereotypes. I'm also very intrigued that the reviewer said the author provides good reasons for the actions of the characters but that their pasts make it difficult to empathize with them. I think that's an interesting juxtaposition. I'll have to try something new and give this book a read. Thanks for the review!

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