I was very impressed with this break out novel from Tell Cotten, that incidentally also won “Best Western of the Year” for Solstice Publishing recently. The book is written in first person from the main character, Rondo’s POV. This author seems to have literally used his pen or word processor to open a time portal for us to meet Rondo and then follow him on a journey through his younger years filled with loss and trauma and then his formative years where he is shaped and formed by manipulative men with bad intentions. We begin to understand and feel the pain and suffering he endured as his story unfolds. Leading a book with an anti-hero is risky and can often result in reviews that focus on “hated the main character”…we are supposed to hate the bad guy aren’t we? That is not the case in this book, though Rondo is a “bad guy” sitting in a jail cell when the book opens, as he confesses he also shares what led him to become a robber, thief and murderer. This is a fast paced story with a strong main character that you will undoubtedly find yourself rooting for as his inner fear of the man he was becoming is more and more apparent and clearly sets him apart from your typical old western gun slingers. The reader is challenged by the circumstances described, do you believe Rondo is a bad person or is he a victim of the hard realities of the old west? You decide, I shan’t spoil your adventure with explicit details from the book.
I will tell you that the dimensions of the character are there because Tell Cotten is a talented writer and this isn’t your typical western book. I will also tell you that this book had all of the elements of a good read, it made me feel as it carried an emotional charge through the pages, the imagery drawn from the text was brilliant, archetypal themes (meaning profound parts of human experience) loss, redemption, grief, despair, fear were present and woven skillfully throughout and the expected release of tension that allows closure at the end of the read was exceptional. I am very much looking forward to more books from Tell Cotten and though I don’t usually care for western themed books, he may have converted me!
Of note, I like that Tell made this book family friendly by avoiding profanity, sexual situations and while there is some violence, he was careful not to make it too gruesome. I would allow and even encourage my teenager to read this book, appreciating the moral lesson in the power of choices and long term consequences that he could learn from it and the historical value of learning what it was like in those days.
~~~~~~~~~~~ Debra L Hartmann, professional editor, published author, book reviewer for the fun of it…. http://www.theprobookeditor.com and come have an AHA moment with us at http://authorshelpingauthors.wordpress.com
Some links for you to learn more about Tell Cotten and find his book on amazon:
Amazon author page
Barnes and Nobles
COOL! Other bloggers that reviewed Tell’s book and an interesting article about villains:
- Confessions of a Gunfighter: My Review (gabina49.wordpress.com)
- Confessions of a Gunfighter (tillie49.wordpress.com)
- Creating A Villain We Love To Hate (youngatink.wordpress.com)