cover image Hard Trail to Follow

Hard Trail to Follow

Elmer Kelton, . . Forge, $24.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1522-9

Prolific Spur Award–winner Kelton knocks out the seventh western in his Texas Ranger series, following 2005’s Jericho’s Road . In the 1870s, former Texas Ranger Andy Pickard, now a restless farmer, drops his plow and straps on his guns when the local sheriff is murdered during a jailbreak. The dead sheriff, Tom Blessing, had been a father figure to Andy, who vows revenge for his killing. The escaped outlaw is Luther Cordell, a dangerous bank robber and leader of a small gang of desperate owlhoots. The search is long and arduous, and the posse Andy has assembled melts away until only Andy, now a fully reinstated Ranger, remains in solo pursuit. Cordell, meanwhile, is trying to recover the stolen bank loot he’d hidden when captured. Add in Cordell’s disgusting relatives, two unlucky saloon stick-up artists, some kindly travelers, fancy gunplay and a remarkably surprising conclusion, and Kelton once again turns in an exciting and satisfying western tale. (Feb.)