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Friday, 4 March 2011

The Hart Brand by Johnny D Boggs

You can tell a book is going to become a lifelong friend, when you pick it up to read it for a second time, and deep down you know you'll probably read it again before too long.

The Hart Brand is such a book. I had a long day on set and I always carry my Sony eReader with me, and so flicking through the contents, unsure what to read, I came across this eBook which I bought and first read sometime last summer. Now I recalled this was in the first person narrative and presented in a more literary style than is usual for the western genre, and so I started reading, intending to savour a small section and before I knew it three hours or so had passed and I was virtually half of the way through the book. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and reclining in a camp chair, the Sony on my lap was an absolute pleasure.

The narrator is young Caleb Hart who is packed off from his home in St. Louis to work for his father's brother Franklin J. Hart in the rugged New Mexico Territory. It's a great story with some excellent characters, particularly the grizzled cowboy with a girl's name Kim Harrigan and action that comes thick and fast. But above all the book shines with the author's understanding and love of the Old West - this love is reflected in the way young Caleb looks up to the seasoned cowboys he now rides besides.

This is an excellent book -it's as much a love letter to the classic western as an adventure story. It leaves the reader satisfied but wanting to jump straight back between the covers.

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