Great Lonesome

Written by John D. Nesbitt
Review by Thomas j. Howley

Reese Hartley is an Easterner who, like thousands of others, has moved to the West to escape expanding technology and systems and find his own way on his own land. He starts as a ranch hand working for an amiable but calculating owner who looks to expand his holdings by having his employees purchase land claims and turn the titles over to him. Opposing him are the homesteader farmers who aim to grow wheat. These “nesters” most of whom are cousins are also trying to monopolize land and control in the hands of a few.

Reese wants no part of either group, which earns him the suspicion of both factions. As bodies of murder victims rise, he must find out who is responsible to prove his innocence. Along the way Reese meets Muriel, a kindred spirit, who provides him solace and inspiration. Rich with interesting accounts of cowboy life, descriptions of the rugged Wyoming terrain and challenges awaiting newcomers, the novel also is part detective story. An easy and enjoyable read.