Friday 23 January 2009


CONCEPT - Pattie Abbott - check our her wonderful blog for more Forgotten Books.

Louis L'amour
Bantem £5.99 UK
$4.99 US
$6.99 Canada

I'm not sure if any L'amour book is really forgotten, they're all still in print, but I'm including this post in The Forgotten Books series because some folk, particularly those new to the western may enjoy reading about it.

James T. Kettleman became a legend in the West at the age of seventeen when he gunned down several men who had just shot his friend, Flint. After that incident the boy escaped to New York and became a successful businessman.

Now many years later Kettleman is dying from an incurable cancer but he does not want to die here in New York, with a loveless wife by his side and so, for the second time in his life, he vanishes. He knows he must die but he wants this to to be his own terms - incidentally this predates the John Wayne movie The Shootist by more than fifteen years.

Heading West Kettleman goes to an hideout he shared with Flint all those years ago. He tames a wild horse and despite wanting to be left alone to die he becomes involved in a range war. Taking on the identity of Flint he sides with Nancy Kerrigan against the vicious Buckdun faction.

"Legend was born that night in Kansas, and the story of the massacre at The Crossing was told and retold over many a campfire. Neither the man at the card table nor the boy that carried him away was known, and both vanished as if the earth had opened up to recieve them."

This is a lot darker than most of L'amour's books and stands out, in my mind, as one of his best. If you fancy a western then you'll be in the hands of a master here, period detail, little splashes of colour and the speech patterns are spot on. L'amour's knowledge of guns, horses and the cowboy lifestyle is always bang on the mark which is gratifying for an amateur historian of the Old West.

A bloody good book.

The only complaint I have is that whoever wrote the blurb on the back of the book (and I'm reading the current BANTEM paperback) seems to have not read the damn thing and Kettleman is referred to as Flint in the enticing but inaccurate blurb. Though I must congratulate them on the mean and moody cover image by Gordon Crabb

Still it's the book that counts and it's a belter.

RELATED: Next week on The Tainted Archive I will proudly publish a review with Beau L'amour about his father's rich legacy.


Coffee Messiah said...

I remember making fun of reading westerns many years ago, and actually picked up one of his books and ended up reading most. Can't remember which book it was, but he mentioned a cowboy reading Plutarch and wanting to find more.

I looked for Plutarch and found that LL's writing to be full of interesting facts and not all about gun fighting, which everyone makes you believe happened all the time.

Thanks & Cheers!

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Coffee - you and I drink from the same well. L'amour is excellent

David Cranmer said...

I just read FLINT a few months ago and so far it's tops for me. I kinda wish we could learn more about the adventures of the original Flint that's alluded to several times in the story. He sounded like quite the badass.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Gary. I have an Elmer Kelton to read and then I will try one of these.

Scott D. Parker said...

This is the year I crack open a L'amour book. Still don't know which one...but it just might be Flint.

And I couldn't help but chuckle when I read the name of the female lead: Nancy Kerrigan. Was Tonya around anywhere?

Charles Gramlich said...

Flint is one of my five favorite L'Amour books. Good action, and a mystery of sorts if I remember.

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