South of the Border

John Byrne Cooke, Author Bantam Books $17.95 (324p) ISBN 978-0-553-05344-9
Students of outlaw lore may enjoy the careful research evident in this second novel from the author of The Snow blind Moon (winner of two Golden Spur awards); others, however will find it a slow read with few surprises. Styled along the lines of a cowboy autobiography, the narrative voice is given to a real figure from the old frontier, ex-Pinkerton agent Charlie Siringo. In language ripe with authentic phrasing, Siringo recounts how in 1919, at age 65, he and outlaw Butch Cassidy are guarding a silent film company's payroll during a shoot in Delgado, Mexico. When Cassidy finds romance with the film's lead, Victoria Hartford, Siringo (who is the only one aware of the undercover Cassidy's true identity) strongly disapproves. A battle between the Mexican government's federales and Pancho Villa's rebel forces wraps up the drama. While Cooke handles his many characters with care, he is annoyingly verbose and constantly derails the pace of his story with unnecessary historical asides. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1989
Release date: 02/01/1989
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-553-28353-2
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