Listened: West Texas Kill by Johnny D. Boggs, 2011, OverDrive download.
Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. I'm sure I wrote longer notes on this book but cannot find them. Damn. Here is another try.
2012 pub date? I had no idea. I assumed this was older.
Very good western by Boggs. This one won the Spur Award for paperback original and no surprise. Spoilers await
Texas Ranger Dave Chance is one of the more honest Rangers working under command of Captain Heck Savage in Southwest Texas in the 1870s (I think). Chance is searching for a man wanted for murder in Galveston. The man (I forgot his name) is a big black guy and professional gambler who says he is a Moor and takes great offense at the word "nigger". Moor carries a sawed off .45-70 Springfield and is very good with it. Chance captures Moor and heads back to Ranger headquarters. Moor almost escapes in vicious fight with Chance.
Meanwhile, Captain Savage has crosseed into Mexico and pursuit of a Mexican bandit. Savage and the Company meet up with Mexican cops. Savage and Company kill the Mexican cops with teamwork from the bandit. Savage and bandit have plans to split the territory amongst themselves.
Chance and Moor travel the desert. Savage kills people. Chance is indebted to Savage. Savage sends away or kills off the Rangers he knows are honest. Savage and Chance are in long distance cat-and-mouse game as Chance tries to figure Savage's moves and guess what Savage - that sneaky bastard - is up to. Savage declares his part of Texas as a sovereign state - he is really out to steal a large gold shipment and go to South America.
Moor grows to like Chance. Moor sent away by Chance to find a working telegraph and warn Ranger headquarters in Austin. Moor returns to assist Chance, his new buddy. Moor is surprised to admit to himself he thinks of Chance as a buddy.
Lots of long distance horse travel. Mexican bandits. A local ranching bigwig out to hang Moor who recently killed Bigwig's worthless, but only, son. All ends well with Chance rescuing a female saloon owner he is sweet on.
1. Obscure gun love for Merwin Holbert .44s carried by Savage.
2. .32 back-up gun love.
5. Long range rifle shooting with a .45-120 (I think it was a 120) lovw.
6. A nasty and ruthless Savage but Savage refuses to injure women.
7. Twist at the end and set-up for possible sequel.
8. No baseball.
9. Tour of Southwest TX geography with visits to Terlingua, Fort Davis, Fort Stockton, etc. I've been interested in that area ever since I applied for a job at Sul Ross State Uni in Alpine. Since then I have wanted to visit there and see what the area is like. Especially with a couple national parks in the area.
10. Reminders of the modern secessionist in the Davis Mountains fifteen years ago.
EDIT 8 August 2012. 11. I went to Smoky Valley Shooting sports for my annual look and feel and they have a .32 Merwin Holbert for sale. The nickel plating looked to be in excellent condition. They also had an unaltered Krag.