Monday, February 2, 2015

Reprint I Read: "Outrage at Blanco" by Bill Crider

Reprint I Read: Outrage at Blanco by Bill Crider, 2014 reprint of the 1998 novel, 9781941298251.

No LOC CIP data on the verso. Only the 1999 copyright date is listed. 

Ellie Taine is headed back to her farm outside Blanco, TX.  Two men stop her and then rape her.  Both men are headed to Blanco to meet a confederate and rob the local bank.

Ellie heads home in a daze. Her husband discovers what happens he straps on his Navy model Colt and heads to town.  Mr. Taine gets into town right when the robbers are leaving the bank and Taine is shot dead off his horse.  The local minister and his wife collect Ellie, Ellie gets her husband buried, Ellie takes her shotgun to go after the raping murderers.

The bad guys, Ben and Jink, are bad dudes who've been raping and killing for years. They are also stupid and unable to plan much of anything beyond breakfast. They've teamed up with a former prison mate, O'Grady, to rob the bank. O'Grady is smarter and in Mexico he met a local rich rancher's no-good son who says the bank is filled with the Rich Rancher's cash. Gerald, the no-good son, has teamed with O'Grady to split the loot since his dying father won't give Gerald anything but the land and buildings.

The robbery is successful but the lack of cash in the bank makes bad guys suspicious and angry and they head to the ranch. The town's Marshal heads to the ranch when suspicious of Gerald. Gerald and the Marshal are killed, the bad guys leave. Ellie also hears about Gerald's actions during the robbery and is suspicious. She gets to the ranch and teams up with Gerald's dying father, Jonathan, to go after the men.

Things happen. Crider guides a third person trip back-and-forth from Ellie, Jonathan, Gerald, the bad guys, and other characters.  Ellie is out for revenge but realizes she's independent enough to heal on her own. Jonathan wishes his son did not turn into a shiftless bum, Jonathan sees a chance to leave his death bed and die in the saddle. The bad guys all want to double cross one another. The town's Deputy wants nothing of the manhunt.

Comments:
1. There are several passages that just read like a Crider novel.  The way characters speak and act have Crider's style all over them.  The innate goodness of some people, Ellie and Jonathan, and their capacity to reject revenge and anger share a similarity with Sheriff Dan Rhodes.
2. Blanco Public Library has the Dell edition from 1998.
3. A revenge themed western? Unthinkable. In typical Crider-style there is always plenty of things going on. Characters are fat with character and motive; you understand who the characters are and why they act.  I liked the back-and-forth from character to character.
4. The second novel featuring Ellie, Texas Vigilante, is over on the new books shelf. I can see it from here. The book cover is face out on a display rack. I already have a few books waiting at home.
5. I used a semi-colon. Did you see that? Yeah, read the masthead and leave your grammar at home.

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