As easy as A, B, C . . . from HA
The Samaritan’s Pistol is the first novel by Utah writer Eric Bishop. The protagonist, Jim Cooper, is a Desert Storm vet, Wyoming rancher, and guide for city dwellers getting away from it all. In the beginning, life is good.
But that’s how it always is, isn’t it? Well, most of the time. It doesn’t take long before things go from good to bad and from bad to worse.
Jim gets a group settled in to their mountain retreat and heads back to his ranch. The plan is to pick them up again and return them to civilization in a week.
On his way back down the mountain, he runs into three men beating a fourth. They appear to be beating him to death. Jim steps in to stop the beating, but the three have other ideas. They draw weapons and tell Jim to just mind his own business.
Long story short: He shoots the three, but not before one of them shoots his horse.
And that’s when the fun really starts. The three, it turns out, are associates of the leader of the Las Vegas mob; one of them is also his grandson. The man they were beating up? He and his friend had stolen several million dollars from the Vegas mob. To thank Jim, the stranger offers to cut him in on the money. If Jim will help him recover the money.
And therein lies the tale.
Bishop has written a compelling novel that moves at a good pace. The characters are believable if a bit cliché at times. The good guys are really good and the bad guys are really bad. The supporting cast of characters are as varied as possible.
Bishop does capture the heart of the true Western attitude: that self-reliance of the individual along with the neighbor-helping-neighbor sense of survival.
The only complaint I have was thinking I had a stand-alone story. It’s somewhat open-ended. Hopefully, there will be a part two… and, hopefully, it won’t take the fifteen years alluded to in the closing paragraphs.
Published by Jolly Fish Press, they appear to need to print another run. Amazon and other booksellers are out. If you can get your hands on a copy, do it. It won’t disappoint.
See you day-after-tomorrow for Monday Moans.