A Cow Hunter’s Lament and Other Stories: A Western Collection

Written by Larry D. Sweazy
Review by Loyd Uglow

Cattlemen in Florida, Texas Rangers in their home state, vampires in a Western town, a Southern plantation in the wake of war, and an Indian village on the verge of removal—author Larry Sweazy manages to give a Western flavor to these and other characters and locations in and out of the classical West in this collection of short stories.

Characterization and atmosphere are hallmarks of these tales. Sweazy has a knack for drawing his readers into the inner lives of his people and into the context of each story. In fact, his settings often assume the role of characters in their own right and are very important to the overall mood the author conveys.

Texas Ranger Josiah Wolfe is one of the more traditional protagonists one would find in a classical Western—taciturn, upright, courageous, with a poignant backstory that sparks sympathy in any reader. On the other end of the spectrum, is a determined Indian medicine man involved in dramatic spiritual conflict.

Some fiction writers, myself among them, have difficulty writing through viewpoint characters of the opposite sex, but Sweazy handles female protagonists deftly. These women range from Native American widows, to desolate Southern belles facing up to ruin and defeat, to young Indiana territorial rangers doing what all their peers consider “men’s work.” All come across as genuine

The stories have freshness and unique character, even the ones that follow a fairly typical Western format. Readers shouldn’t expect the wholly conventional in these pages but a blend of the new and the familiar that will make for a satisfying reading experience.