Hard Trail to Follow

Written by Elmer Kelton
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In Texas, several years after the American Civil War, former Texas Ranger Andy Pickard volunteers to track down an escaped outlaw named Luther Cordell and his two partners. Andy’s close friend, Sheriff Tom Blessing, is killed in a jailbreak, and Andy seeks revenge. The story follows the pursuit of the outlaws, both from the point of view of the reinstated Ranger and also from the outlaw named Cordell. The reader learns that Cordell isn’t the cold-blooded killer Pickard believes, but actually has many redeeming qualities.

This book is the seventh in the Texas Ranger series. Elmer Kelton knows how to build tension and excitement. His characters are well developed and believable, and his knack for writing Western stories is well known; he has received several Spur Awards and is recognized by many as the best living Western novelist. I enjoyed this tale and had a difficult time putting the book down.

I’ve read all the books in the series and suggest that the earlier books be read before this one. The series as a whole is character driven, and this way you will gain a better perspective of the major characters.