I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for a western, even a western as formulaic as this. At the beginning of the book I found myself rolling my eyes at the names and dialog. Skull ranch? Could he be any more stereotypical or literal in his translation of the “evil” ranch? But, I will say that I found myself sucked into this story of rambling drifter and Civil War vet, Reno, fighting his demons and standing up for what is right in the world. I was also drawn to his relationship with Catherine. Though it isn’t fleshed out, Reno is afraid of commitment and Catherine is JUST the person to help him with that … and his resistance to religion. It’s no secret that this book is christian fiction, but because it is set in a historical time period, the preaching seems authentic instead of forced.
In the process of being real with you all, I will say that I’m having trouble writing a review of this book. I liked it. It wasn’t anything special. It was written to a formula. But, it was good. If you’re looking for an easy read at night before bed and you like westerns, give Gilbert Morris and Reno a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed as long as you don’t Larry McMurtry-like expectations. It’s a simple book, set in a simple time, with simple characters who only want to make their way in the world unmolested.