The Rusted Sun

Written by Michael Zimmer
Review by Val Adolph

Gil Ryan, riding from personal tragedy in Idaho, arrives in the small frontier town of Larkspur injured, suffering from pneumonia, and minus most of his possessions, which have been lost in a flood. As the townspeople care for him, he realizes that everyone in town is being victimized by rancher Art Quinlin and the hired thugs that he calls cowboys. Once recovered Ryan is reluctantly drawn into supporting the townspeople against Quinlin.

While this is a classic stranger-in-town-saves-everyone western, it is well-researched and true to both the reality and the mythology of frontier life in the west. Descriptions are vivid and accurate to the period, the place, and the sense of the Old West. Characters are fully developed, and the action is suspenseful and realistic. The author’s extensive knowledge of firearms of the period adds that extra “you are there” touch.

I especially liked the maturity of the protagonist; this is no hot-shot young cowboy. The very minor love interest is no nubile young maiden, nor yet a feisty red-headed schoolmarm, but a mature woman. Bravo! An entertaining and brilliantly realistic addition to the genre.