Kelton's 35th novel (after The Pumpkin Rollers) is a clever western about a 12-year-old boy on the run from the law in 1885 Texas. Young Joey Shipman has more troubles than Custer. His Pa dies suddenly, leaving him at the mercy of his bitter, scheming stepmother and her murderous bedmate, the vile Blair Meacham, who wants to kill Joey to inherit the ranch. Joey runs away to find his only true kin, his black-sheep older cousin Beau, a drunken drifter. Beau and Joey make unlikely saddle partners, constantly bickering until they encounter Meacham, who has tracked them down and tries to kill them, only to be left for dead himself. Taking to the trail, the young men roam Texas, dodging Rangers, tangling with a notorious outlaw and picking up a hardboiled female traveling companion. Finally worn down by fatigue and remorse, they and their companion return to Joey's ranch to face the law. A showdown between Joey and his would-be killers proves that revenge truly can be sweet. It is easy to see why Kelton, who wrote his first western 40 years ago, has won six Spur Awards. His characters and narrative are colorful and well-defined, his plotting is taut and suspenseful--and Joey is one of his best creations yet. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997 Release date: 04/01/1997 Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 256 pages - 978-0-8125-7594-1
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