Hank Tomlinson has probably fared better than most Texas Rangers who were suddenly thrown out of work when the Rangers were disbanded in Reconstruction Texas following the Civil War. He operates the Broken Arrow Ranch and owns most of the businesses in Luck, the little town that he founded in order to attract the services that were not in the area when he began his new life as a rancher.Things are going so well, in fact, that he has just brought a Kentucky thoroughbred back to the ranch that he hopes will make him a bundle in breeding fees.
But when Jay Blue, Hank’s son, and Skeeter, the orphan taken in by Hank as a youngster, do a poor job on guard duty one night and the new mare disappears, things change for Hank and the people of Luck, Texas in a big way. Barely one step ahead of Tomlinson and his anger, the boys race off, determined to recover the lost horse, and find themselves in the adventure of their young lives.
Along the way they meet and befriend an albino Negro who captures and tames wild horses for the U.S. Cavalry and a young Apache warrior who has been critically wounded during the massacre of his people by the Calvary and a few ranch hands who were along for the ride, two people who will come to play important roles in their future.
Suddenly the folks in Luck, Texas, are faced with warring Apaches and what appears to be a lone Indian assassin from Tomlinson’s past who makes everyone nervous by peppering two people with arrows and scalping them before disappearing again. When a policeman from Austin comes to town to further complicate matters, things get a little hot for the Tomlinson clan before the book reaches its rousing climax.
Willie Nelson and Mike Blakely have touched most of the Western genre bases with A Tale out of Luck. There are bands of marauding Indians, cavalry troopers racing to the rescue in the nick of time, cattle rustlers, wild horses, a beautiful, world-wise but kindly saloon keeper, a jail escape, a bigger-than-life good guy, and an equally bigger-than-life villain to menace him. The authors combine these elements in a clever way, managing to include a surprise or two, so that the novel is a fresh and fun read even for those who have read dozens of westerns in their day.
A Tale out of Luck hits the bookstores in September and western fans should take a look because Nelson and Blakely make a good team.
Rated at: 3.5