Read: Summer of the Star by Johnny D. Boggs, 2013, 9781432826307.
I cannot recall why I got this book. I've read or listened to 2-3 Boggs books. This is set in Ellsworth, KS. Maybe I grabbed this to read while vacationing only a few miles away from the novel's setting.
Sixteen-year-old Texan Madison Carter MacCrae is on his third (or maybe his fourth) cattle drive from South Texas to Kansas. His father died of fever during the Civil War and his family needs the money he earns. Madison - Mad for short - is eager to act like, and be considered, a man. On the way to KS they are talked into going to Ellsworth by another Texan. Abilene has mostly been shut down to the cattle trade, and rowdy TX cowboys. Ellsworth has big stockyards and cattle buyers and is closer than Great Bend.
The cowboys arrive to Ellsworth and range the cows outside of town to fatten up. Mad likes some fellow crew members and dislikes others. The Texas cowboys are not always welcome to towns and the Ellsworth police force is more concerned with force than police. Ellsworth cops are eager to beat or kill cowboys. Mad stays working the herd as the owner awaits a better price. More and more herds arrive with more and more cowboys.
Mad goes on a bender and meets a local shop keeper's daughter after waking up in his vomit. Mad is bonkers fro the girl, Estrella (Star). Things happen. The County Sheriff is a good guy and makes friends with Mad. Mad backs him up during a showdown and alienates crew members and other Texans. Mad is lovey-dovey for Star but falling short. Mad is fired from his crew when he goes on a second bender against orders. A nearby farmer is overwhelmed by his daughter's rape and murder and hunting the killer he suspects is a drover.
Mad is deputized. The Sheriff is shot. Star starts dating another guy from Mad's old crew. Another crew member tries to rape Star. star takes his gun and shoots him. The guy dating he says he shot the guy and is lynched. Mad goes to arrest the lynchers and kills one. Mad flees and is accused of murder by the corrupt local cop. Mad tells the story forty years later in this book
1. Horse love.
2. Obscure handgun manufacturer love.
3. Good book and good story.
4. Nice look at trail life and cowtowns.
5. I told my wife we should go to Ellsworth tomorrow. She wants to go to Wichita. I say that Boggs writes, "I must also thank Paden's Place Restaurant in Ellsworth for that filling chicken-fried steak dinner."