War at Fire Creek

Written by Cameron Judd
Review by Steve Lewis

Two brothers who fought on opposite sides during the American Civil War have united in a quest to find their long lost Uncle Patrick. In this, the third book in what appears to have been a trilogy about the Carrigan brothers, the trail has led at last to Montana. There are no real-life historical events involved, not even in passing, but the flavor of the writing is that of the times, reminiscent not only of the pulp westerns of the 1920s and 30s, but also at times of the dime novels that preceded them, around the turn of this past century.

Unfortunately, their uncle has made a bitter enemy, and Liam and Joseph find themselves on one side of a raging range war, the origins of which have been kept secret by each of the primary adversaries involved. The shadows of the past therefore continue to haunt the inhabitants of the present, a fact that, once realized, provides the story just the required hint of moral ambiguity it needs to strengthen its stature as a novel, rather than allowing its existence to be justified as just another fanciful tale of the Old West. This is not the Great American Novel, it should hastily be pointed out—it’s not solidly enough written to say that—but there’s more of an edge here than you might otherwise expect: judging a book not by its cover alone, you might say.