Howdy. *Leans against saloon post, lights cheroot and pushes cowboy hat from eyes*
Did I sound like Clint Eastwood?? No? Next time I`ll make sure I have some stubble and a poncho. It`s time for another book review, and as you can tell, I`m passing along some western-flavored Word of Mouth. This round we`ll be talking about ‘One Woman`s Vengeance’ by Dennis R. Miller.
I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Miller, and having his book signed, at an author event in early December at ‘From My Shelf Books’ in Wellsboro, PA. Now I`ll be honest and admit right up front that I can count on one hand how many western novels I`ve read in my life. On my other hand, I can count how many western movies I`ve watched. Sure, Mister Yodeling has every spaghetti western Clint ever made, and can repeat the lines verbatim, but generally I peek at the screen and then return to my romance novel. I am just not a fan of the genre. Or, maybe I just haven`t discovered the right protagonist? I think that`s changed since I met Nora Hawks.
This gritty, dark novel begins when retired bounty hunter, Peter Clawson, finds himself with a woman hell bent on revenge and seeking his tutelage. Nora Hawks is a beauty, no doubt, but there is a side to this woman that Peter has never seen in any other woman. She is possessed and driven to pay back the gang of men that killed her husband, brutally raped her and then left her for dead. And boy howdy, does Nora get her revenge! There is blood enough for any fan of the western genre, make no mistake.
There is also a very subtle love story that builds slowly amid all the gun-slinging and shoot-outs though, and for me, this was one of the reasons I kept turning pages. The pace of the romance is perfect for the story. It grows naturally and isn`t overstated. We watch both Peter and Nora get to know each other as she studies diligently, honing her killing skills, until she is ready to face down the men that destroyed her hopes, home and future. Nora Hawks hands out frontier justice as well as any man in any film I have ever peeked at! She is deadly as well as amazingly strong.
Each of the characters has real depth and personality, even the creeps in Butch Wheeler`s gang of thugs, drunks, murderers and rapists. I hated the dirt-bags for what they did to Nora and I was thrilled when they finally got their just desserts! The story moves along at a nice clip, never growing dull or lagging. Nora`s voice stays strong throughout, and that is what held me so tightly as I read over my coffee and bagel in the morning. If Hollywood would give me a heroine like Nora Hawks to cheer, I just may start laying aside my romance novel when Mister slips in a movie.
If you like a good western, this book is for you. If you enjoy a good romance, then this book is for you as well. And if you wish to see a woman move into the world of men, testosterone and guns and show the guys a thing or two, then this book is a must have!