Saturday, June 25, 2011
Charles Gramlich, Killing Trail
Which is not to say his stories are all about chases. But there’s an unrelenting forward movement in them, an intensity that doesn’t let up. The man at the center of each story is driven by determination – to survive, to repay injustice, maybe even win the heart of a woman.
Most of the time, this means going it alone, against all odds. To journey with a Gramlich hero is to know the loneliness of the solitary horseman on a perilous mission. At almost any moment, he can kill or be killed. And for the most part, there is no one to miss him or even bury him should he fail.
Gramlich's stories navigate well the broad stream of western fiction that pits the lone gunman against villainy and treachery. The values he upholds are the uncompromising ethic of free men defending the rights of honorable men and women to live freely in the world. Where violence is used to subvert those rights, violence inevitably must come to the rescue.
These stories capture that world without a single misstep. Reading them, you take pleasure in the writer’s mastery of the genre. If you haven’t yet treated yourself to Gramlich’s way with a western story, you can find Killing Trail now for both the kindle and the Nook.
And prepare to read them just one at a time. They have that kind of impact.
Coming up: Old West glossary, no. 13