Monday, January 10, 2011
Review: Old West Tales
Author: CR Caldwell
Reviewed by: Emily Veinglory
If Caldwell prose was an object in a second hand store it would have age and a beautiful patina. It would be something that felt good in your hand, smooth and heavy. Unfortunately, whatever it was the implement was meant to do, it would not longer perform that function. That is, if it was a gun, it would not shoot.
The tales in this book are more like vignettes. They paint a picture of men and guns and horses and dogs, but only a few have much in the way of a plot. The time period varies from the Victorian era west to near recent times. The protagonists of each tale are nice enough men to visit, having an authentic feel so that those drawn from life and those that are fictional are not easy to tell apart.
However a paragraph that begins on page ten is still going on page fifteen, containing not only a good deal of action but dialogue from three different characters! A period might have one or two dots, an ellipsis eight to twenty. For this and other reasons I suspect I would enjoy hearing the author tell a tale, but it is quite a chore to read them when they are written down. I might change my opinion considerably if this book was copy-edited and formatted, but at over twenty dollars the current price is a little steep for something that reads like a first draft.