The Doctor and the Rough Rider

Written by Mike Resnick
Review by Arleigh Johnson

Doc Holliday, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, and Geronimo join forces against a host of rival Indian tribes and a supernatural villain in this steampunk-inspired Weird West tale. In this third in a series, Holliday is looking forward to retiring to a sanitarium in Colorado when he finds himself in jail for defending himself against the sheriff’s nephew. His one-time nemesis, Geronimo, conjures him out for a favor in kind: luring Theodore Roosevelt to Tombstone. With his usual apathetic manner, Holliday is soon back into action, facing not only an unfathomable creature created by medicine men, but also a talented shootist when John Wesley Hardin is enlisted to kill him.

Roosevelt turns out to be an exceptionally accomplished young man, hand-picked by Geronimo as the only member of the White Eyes he will treat with in order to finally break the magical barrier that keeps the United States on the other side of the Mississippi. First, with the help of Thomas Edison and Ned Buntline, Roosevelt must overcome the evil spirit dubbed War Bonnet and later deal with the medicine men that created him. Assembling a motley lot of Rough Riders, Roosevelt and Holliday set out to face their adversaries.

Given the subject and presentation, this is unsurprisingly a humorous novel. It captures Doc Holliday’s personality to perfection and creates a unique world where alternate history and actual historical facts blend seamlessly. Even readers jumping into the middle of the series will enjoy it, though perhaps reading the preceding two books is recommended to fully appreciate the character quirks. The Weird West series is pure fun and possesses cross genre appeal—a great choice for a light, witty read.