Retired Texas Ranger Captain Hank Tomlinson intends to spend the rest of his days raising cattle on his Broken Arrow Ranch, and nurturing his frontier town of Luck, Texas. But when the brutal murder and scalping of a mysterious drifter leads to a clash between cavalry soldiers and a band of Comanche Indians suspected of the killing, a full-scale Indian uprising seems likely. Worse yet, the murder of the drifter bears a disturbing resemblance to a string of killings Hank remembers from his distant and violent past as a Texas Ranger.
Meanwhile, Hank's twenty-year-old son, Jay Blue, and his adoptive brother, Skeeter, find themselves on the trail of a valuable Kentucky mare who vanished under their watch. The trail leads them into the dangerous haunts of outlaws and vengeful Comanche warriors. Now Hank must attempt to keep his sons safe while trying to catch a murderer who he knows will soon strike again. His ace-in-the-hole is beautiful Flora Barlow, the tavern owner with a knack for detective work. Though rival lawman, Matt Kenyon, and competing rancher, Jack Brennan, complicate Hank's investigation, he and Flora slowly begin to uncover a crooked web of crime, deception, and murder. Dark secrets emerge, and everyone must choose sides as lawmen, outlaws, soldiers, and Indian warriors converge for a final, bloody confrontation.
Growing up, I was exposed to many different types of music. My father was a fan of Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, but his favourite was always Willie Nelson. While I liked the music alright, it wasn’t until I was older that I realized my father liked Willie, not only for his music, but also for the person he is. I have to say after reading a few biographies on him, I’ve grown to respect him also. Although tabloids love to highlight the controversies he’s been involved in, many people don’t know about all the good he’s done and continues doing. Willie Nelson is an active participant in many valuable activist committees, including Willie Nelson BioDiesel, Habitat For Horses, Farm Aid and NORML (National Marijuana Reform Organization). What does all this have to do with a fictional book written by Willie Nelson? Well, nothing really, but when I heard of this book, I thought to myself “you know, this guy he’s not just a country singer, I bet he’s a pretty intelligent man, and I’d love to see just how creative his mind is.” So, thanks for following along on my ramble, now let’s get on to my thoughts about A Tale Out Of Luck :)
This book is set in the town of Luck, Texas during the 1800’s and focuses focuses on the citizens as they try to keep their little town safe and thriving. Hank Tomlinson is a retired Texas Ranger who spends his time running the Broken Arrow Ranch. Mostly he raises cattle but he decided to give horses a try and so he buys prized mare. In the meantime he comes across a frontier drifter whose been beaten to death in a manner that resembles cases he had investigated in the past and which is connected to some dangerous Indians. As if that weren’t bad enough his new horse has vanished and his two sons go looking for the mare, probably not the safest time to be wandering around. From here, the plot keeps twisting and turning until there is danger and risk around every corner.
A Tale Out Of Luck has a complex and constantly intriguing plot, but the characters certainly don’t suffer. You’ll find ranchers, Indians, soldiers, horse whisperers and barkeeps, all described with much detail and personality. Flora Barlow, who runs the Luck saloon, was one of my favourite characters. Her role in the novel is not just a typical love interest for the main character, she also contributes much to the information gathering necessary to figure out just what the heck is going on. Of course a beautiful woman who works in the only bar in town is going to overhear lots of important talk, but she does it so innocently you can’t help but admire this clever character.
All in all, A Tale Out Of Luck was a smart, page-turner of a book. Not just your average, shoot-em-up wild west story, this book has mysteries that really kept me guessing. Right when I thought I had an idea of where the solution lay, whoosh, we were off in another direction. Sometimes this can be a pain, but here it was nothing less that awesome. My first impression was spot-on, Willie Nelson is indeed a writer with the brains and imagination to completely capture my attention.
About The Authors
Willie Nelson was born April 30, 1933 and grew up in Abbott, TX. A country singer/songwriter, he developed his own style of music combining rock and roll, jazz, western swing, and folk. In the 1970s he partnered with Waylon Jennings to form an offshoot genre of country music called "outlaw country." Willie's chart topping songs include "Good Hearted Woman,""If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time,""Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys," and "On the Road Again."
Mike Blakely is the acclaimed, Spur Award-winning author of several historical western novels. A singer-songwriter with six CDs of his own, he lives in Marble Falls, TX.
Published by Center Street Books
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