Snake Oil: Easy Pickin’s
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish and am encouraged that it’s billed as Book One, so there will be more to come. Its protagonist is part-hero, part-scoundrel Professor Henry Whiteoak. In 1878, on the way to Barbrady, Kansas, he rescues courier Byron Keag from thieves who want his documents. Whiteoak follows Keag into Barbrady, where Keag’s sister Lyssa lives and the documents are to be delivered, and he sets up shop with his wagon of feel-good tonics. He soon discovers there’s more to this sleepy town than is apparent.
Whiteoak is a major part of what makes this book so much fun. There’s more to him than meets the eye—in addition to being a smooth-talking salesman, he’s an excellent shot and has a romantic side as well. Lyssa, the object of his affections, is equally a dark horse and more than a match for him. Between the two of them, and with Byron’s reluctant participation, they fend off the outlaws who have come to town. Galloway has a way with a story as well as a way with characters. Whiteoak untangles a complicated plot, and I hope this wanderer stays put in Barbrady for Book Two.