I read this book for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge hosted over at My Reader’s Block from January 1 – December 31, 2016. The challenge is to read books that you already own.
The Hider – Loren D. Estleman
This 1978 western combines elements of the genres historical novel, action chase, coming of age, and the passing of the old west. You’d think keeping these balls in the air would tax any writer that was writing his first western. But not when that writer is Estleman, who has been writing popular westerns and mysteries ever since.
The novel opens with 18-year-old Jeff Curry, winding up a skimpy estate after the death of this dipsomaniac father. He meets Jack Butterworth, an old hider who is on the trail of the last buffalo in the US. But Jack is unlike the psychotic Ahab in his quest after the white whale. Jack possesses stoic virtues. He accepts events as they turn out, without fretting and fuming that reality isn’t working out the way it is supposed to. He rolls with adversity and misfortune, flexible enough to identify what he can control and what is out of his hands.
The young ‘un and old hider meet Sleeping Bow, a Nez Perce who is fleeing the corrupted bosses of the reserve. The bosses have sent a killing machine of a lawman after him. So the duo chasing the buffalo turns into a trio being hunted by crazy lawman, who is turn is pursued—but that would be giving away the show.
Well-worth reading for even for readers who think that Westerns may not be their cup of tea.