These are Western novels or short story collections that I've read and personally recommend. If there's anything on this list you haven't read, you are missing out on some great Western fiction.
Set in 1880s Nebraska, Prosch’s stories in this collection tell of characters out where “settlements were still sparse as wild strawberries.” Prosch’s stories draw fiercely on that solitude. His knight errant on horseback, Coburn, takes trails that sometimes lead to the heart of darkness. Out here, where a villain is free to do whatever he can get away with, a man’s family may go missing and the town where they lived become a mysteriously burned and blackened ruin. --from the Introduction by Ron Scheer
Suspense, humor and a touch of romance await in seven short stories of the American West. In the title story, "The Ranch Next Door," a cattleman's young son dreads breaking the news to his family that he has fallen in love with the daughter of a neighboring sheep rancher despite an ancient feud between the two families. In "Cross My Heart," a boy is torn between betraying his conscience or a fugitive friend, and in "Delayed Deposit," five people are taken hostage during a bank robbery that turns into a tense standoff. The collection also includes the award-winning "Disturbing the Peace," honorable mention in the 2010 Rope and Wire short story competition.
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles is a western noir, short story collection spotlighting the thrilling tales of two deputy U.S. Marshals working in 1880s Wyoming Territory. Cash Laramie, raised by Native Americans, is known as the outlaw marshal for his unorthodox way of dealing with criminals and his cavalier approach to life. Gideon Miles is one of the first African American marshals in the service and has skills with guns, knives, and tracking that are unrivaled. This collection broaches issues like racism, child abuse, and morality.
“Sometimes a man’s gotta take a stand.” – Shawn Brodie, aged 14.
Arizona, 1882. Falsely accused of theft, Shawn Brodie is sent to serve three years in the Hellhole called Yuma Territorial Prison. Lamb to the slaughter, maybe?
The Mexican Zapata wants to stick him with a knife, the warden wants him to mend his thieving ways, and the sergeant of the guard wants to get into Shawn’s pants. If he won’t do what Sergeant Tarkington wants, he’ll end up in the Snake Den, a cube of iron straps hung from the ceiling of a dark cave. If he doesn’t do what Zapata says, he’ll end up with a nail sticking out of his eye. If he can’t convince the warden that he’s not a thief, he’ll spend his days tromping Colorado River mud to make adobe bricks.
Is his young life going to be made up of beatings, rape, and incarceration in the deadly Snake Den? The odds seem stacked against young Shawn ever getting out of Yuma Prison alive.
The Mexicans hate the whites, the Chinamen and blacks stay out of the way, and the whites fight among themselves. Somehow, Shawn must learn how to defend himself, and chance throws him in with Shoo Lee, a cellmate, an Oriental proficient in the barehanded fighting technique Kara Ti. Perhaps if he becomes Shoo Lee’s disciple he can endure...
The search for a murderous outlaw has brought the long roving Gray O’Donnell near to his hometown of Retribution, Arizona. Bounty hunters ain’t popular but old fashioned manners, kindness to regular folk and a face for the ladies make Gray an exception round these parts; and a six gun’ll take care of the rest. Anyway, Gray has a job to do elsewhere. But, the odious Jasper Roberts has made himself Sheriff of Retribution and he has a score to settle with Gray. Jasper ain’t gonna let morals or the law get in the way of a good hanging and the townsfolk are cowed by their villainous lawman. Can you really mess with a man’s momma and get away with it?
Sometimes there is more than one bullet with your name on it.
|“Hawthorne came to lay vengeance upon the heads of the guilty, and all the beasts of Hell wouldn't stop him..."|
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Vol. II continues to chronicle the tales of two unorthodox 19th century U.S. Marshals. With seven more adventures, this collection includes the novella "Origin of White Deer" where the outlaw marshal leaves his Arapaho home as a teen to find his roots in the lawless town of Cheyenne, Wyoming. These noir tales infuse the Western genre with a fresh perspective on topics like race relations and social justice while still delivering pulse-racing action in the tradition of Wanted: Dead or Alive and Gunsmoke.
Edward A.Grainger's Gideon Miles hits the trail in this fast-clip western novella written by Heath Lowrance. The U.S. Marshal finds himself in the sleepy town of Little Ridge, Montana, on the search for a wanted man. But just as Miles enters town, he's spotted by a hard case who recognizes Miles as the lawman that killed his friend. Now Miles must face the wanted man, who claims his innocence and is raising a daughter on his own, while the hard case and a ne'er-do-well partner are gunning for him.
In the grinding death mill of the trenches of Petersburg, Virginia, in the closing days of the Civil War, a Union sharpshooter – a “long-shooter” named Ballou – emerges as the best sniper in a war where wholesale slaughter became the norm. Ballou perfected the art of the judicious killer. His ability with his cherished Stephens target rifle is legendary, making a nearly miraculous shot that no one else – North or South – could accomplish. After the war, he disappears…
Samuel Roark is a small-time rancher and part-time lawyer. One personal tragedy after another leaves Samuel gripped by periodic bouts of depression. When a hidden marksman of uncommon skill murders his son, the death leaves Samuel on the brink of total madness.
Roark’s wife Sarah, a woman of strength, grace and startling beauty is now both emotionally and physically exhausted by the tragic circumstances that have beset her family. After discovering her husband’s quest for revenge, she does everything in her power to prevent what she fears will ultimately destroy him.
Matthew Shaw is a known manhunter and soldier of fortune that people call on when they’re willing to pay someone else to deal with obstacles in their lives. When required, Shaw reluctantly uses his considerable marksmanship to achieve those ends. Now Shaw finds himself caught between a job he truly believes in, and a very good reason to walk away when he realizes he’s falling in love with Sarah, the wife of the man who hired him.