The Baron Honor
In the latest installment of the Baron Ranch saga, Matteo Aguilar has just burned down the Barons’ Texas ranch in a land feud. Rather than taking part personally in the rebuilding, Martin Baron joins the Texas Rangers and fights alongside the Confederacy; Anson takes his friend Peebo to pursue El Diablo Blanco, a mysterious, giant white bull. Meanwhile, Aguilar’s former associate Mickey Bone lusts after Aguilar’s wife Luz and her twin sister Lucinda, destroying his own family in the process.
Will Anson and Peebo survive the twisters, rainstorms, and Apache raids, capture El Diablo Blanco, and return Anson to his sweetheart, Lorene? Will Martin bring Aguilar to justice, reconcile with Anson, and get over the death of his wife enough to be with Millie, the waitress with a heart of gold at the Longhorn Saloon?
This western is fast-paced. No prior knowledge of the Baron Ranch novels is necessary. However, although Sherman is a talented writer of action sequences, there are certain grating elements in this novel that I can’t overlook. The dialogue is frequently wooden, and because the many non-English-speaking characters speak as if their sentences have been literally translated into English, they sound stilted, less intelligent, and more “over the top” than the English speakers. It’s not “Tonto-speak,” but the effect is similar and unfortunate. Most of the narrative style is spare and no-nonsense, but a handful of descriptions are jarringly, eye-poppingly purple, like they’ve been imported from a very different novel. I didn’t find some characters’ choices or reactions credible, given the background that Sherman had provided in previous chapters. This one may be for Sherman fans only.