The Lone Star Ranger is too good for its ending

In his father’s day, a gun-fighter worried only about better gunfighters. Since then the Rangers have been organized to bring law and order to Texas. Buck Duane will be the last of his gun-fighting family. The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Gray Project Gutenberg eBook #1027. 1915 bestseller #9. My grade: B-. After killing a […]

Call of the Canyon Fails at Last Minute

The Call of the Canyon starts out looking the standard western romance. Then Zane Grey gets caught up in the lives of his characters. Instead of finding romance, the novel’s leading lady finds herself. Thunderation. Carley Burch, 26, a young woman of Jazz Age Manhattan is engaged to Glenn Kilborne. Gassed and shell-shocked in France, […]

My Personal Favorites from 1923

The 1923 bestseller list doesn’t include any great books, but it includes a trio that I’d like in my personal hardback collection:  a light, but thoughtful romance and two very different thrillers. The Enchanted April enchanted me My favorite 1923 bestselling novel is The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim. It’s a sunny novel, full […]

The Wanderer of the Wasteland a Thoughtful Thriller

Zane Grey fans expecting an upright hero fighting bad guys may be disappointed by The Wanderer of the Wasteland. This is a harsh, relentless story about a young man growing prematurely old wandering the American desert in a vain attempt to escape  his guilty past. Readers willing to take the novel on its own terms […]

To the Last Man‘s Frantic Pace Blurs History

Zane Grey based his 1922 bestseller To the Last Man, on the “Pleasant Valley War,” a notorious feud in the Tonto Basin of Arizona. Grey whips through the narrative scarcely giving readers time to turn the pages, which is probably just as well. Neither plot nor characterization can withstand much analysis. Jean Isbel’s father summons […]

Mysterious Rider appealingly predictable in western garb

The Mysterious Rider is a classic Zane Grey western, combining romance with adventure cushioned by the sights and sounds of the untrammeled frontier. Bill Belllounds wants his son, Buster Jack, to marry the girl he raised after her family was killed in an Indian attack. She’ll comply to please her adopted father, but cowboy Wils […]