Saturday, October 15, 2011
Kindle Review: ADVENTURES OF CASH LARAMIE & GIDEON MILES V. 2, by Edward A. Grainger
The Western is alive and well, as evidenced by the work of Edward A. Grainger, better known ‘round these parts as one Mister David Cranmer. A few months back, he released THE ADVENTURES OF CASH LARAMIE & GIDEON MILES, a short story collection of remarkably thrilling tales—see my review here. Almost instantly, we readers were harassing him for more, and he’s delivered, in spades. THE ADVENTURES OF CASH LARAMIE & GIDEON MILES VOLUME II is, believe it or not, far, far better than the first volume. The action scenes are cleaner and there’s more emotional depth. It’s clear that Grainger-Cranmer has evolved as a writer, gotten closer to perfecting his craft. Maybe this comes from the deep understanding he seems to have of his hero, Cash Laramie.
The collection starts with “The Origin of White Deer”, the almost novella-length story of young Cash (before he was Cash), his last good-byes to the Arapahoe family who raised him, and his first violent encounter with the white world that set him on his path as a seeker of justice.
The very short “Maggie’s Promise” is a scathing, heartfelt indictment of racism—a theme that runs through a lot of the Cash Laramie stories.
“Miles In Between” shifts the focus to Cash’s sometime partner, Gideon Miles, and it’s the only story in the collection this time to feature him (aside from a very brief cameo later on). Gideon hasn’t been nearly as fully developed as Cash, and I hope in the next volume we get more about him.
“Cash Laramie and the Painted Ladies” is a very clever mystery story in which our man Cash displays some knowledge of Lepidopterology that comes in remarkably handy.
“Gun Justice” is probably my favorite this time out—Cash is out for vengeance against the lowlife who killed a beloved friend of his, and the fact that the killer has retreated to a town where everyone is on his side doesn’t change a thing. Cash faces off against the lot of them in a brilliantly crafted action scene.
“Cash Laramie & the Masked Devil” is also a bit of a mystery tale, with a satisfyingly Scooby-Doo-like ending.
And finally, the somber “Reflections in a Glass of Maryland Rye” finds Cash drunk and lamenting a horrible mistake in a story that examines the high cost of violence, and how the quest for justice can sometimes lead to monstrous tragedy.
THE ADVENTURES OF CASH LARAMIE & GIDEON MILES VOL. II is a top-notch collection, not just for Western fans, but anyone who appreciates solid stories told with emotional resonance and total conviction. I hope Grainger never stops writing them.