Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thompson Western Series book review

Cattle Country and Back Trail: Two Tales from the Thompson Western Series
Erwin A. Thompson
ISBN: 0-595-40228-3
Publisher: iUniverse
$17.95 US
Reviewer: Gordon Randall

I could not remember the last time I read a Western novel, so when presented with the opportunity I thought, “Why not?” Turns out that Cattle Country Back Trail by Erwin Thompson grabbed me by the horns like a champion roper and tied up my attention tighter than a piece of wet leather.

Though it may be fiction, the author sure has a knack for this genre ‘cause I was immediately drawn into the action quicker than a drunk gun slinger on Saturday night. Thompson paints the picture with vivid descriptions of the rural countryside as well as the muddy ruts of old western towns. Thompson knows people, too. He takes you inside every character’s head so you understand where each of them came from, how they got where they are, what made them who they are, and why they act the way they do. He would have been a great cowboy psychologist!

After reading Cattle Country Back Trail, I found myself steeped in thought about how different and hard life was back then. I sometimes wonder how quickly my life would change if I were thrust into an alien environment.

The two stories told in this work have been blended without a hitch even though there is a time lapse that sort of fast forwards you. I found the book to be a thoroughly entertaining and a delightful way to spend a lazy afternoon out on the range—my back porch.

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About the Author:

Erwin A. Thompson has been writing since he was in high school. He wrote again during the war and on inclement weather days when he worked for Union Electric (now Ameren) as a gas pipefitter fixing gas leaks. Thompson has written approximately forty books and is still writing at age 91. He wrote to entertain himself and his children, which accounts for several memoirs and family history pieces as well as poems and songs! He's written twelve Westerns: Cattle Country Back Trail: Two tales from the Thompson Western Series were the first two short novels that he published in one print/binding. As the subtitle suggests, they are linked stories and characters. All Erwin’s books supply good reading with deep messages of character and community without being preachy.

1 comment:

Janet Grace Riehl said...

Thanks, Gordon, for this review of my father's Western stories. I concur, wholeheartedly!

I'll be sharing this with him, and he'll be so pleased.

Now, off to link to this from Riehlife where interested readers can peruse the "Daddy 'n Me" category to read more of his poems, family and community stories, and wisdom of living 92 years.

Janet Riehl