Monday, February 23, 2009
Review: Ride a Shadowed Trail by Eunice Boeve
Ride a Shadowed Trail, a western by Eunice Boeve, is well written with interesting twists and turns. Boeve skillfully maintains the story’s suspense around well-developed characters.
Josh Ryder, eight years old, loves his mother and knows she loves him. But his life isn’t like other boys. Alone much of the time while his mother entertains men, he dreams of what his father must have been like. He pretends they do things together like other boys and their fathers. His mother often talks about what an honorable man his father had been and about his sudden death with a fever. When his mother is mysteriously killed, Josh’s world changes into a frightening nightmare of events he can’t control. Finally, he can take no more and runs away.
Good fortune draws him into the world of Pete Waters, an old widower who sees an opportunity to have the son he always wanted. The two make a fine pair and Josh grows up in Pete’s tender care on a small ranch.
Life is good except for the dark memory of his mother’s murder and the man who committed the terrible crime. As he grows older, he realizes what his mother’s occupation had been. Pete helps him understand that sometimes people have to travel down roads they might not like, but must to survive. Josh can forgive his mother, but he had two burning desires: find out more about his real father and find his mother’s killer.
As Josh travels, he learns many of life’s lessons–both joyous and bitter. He joins a cattle drive and falls in love with the rancher’s daughter. But nothing permanent can happen in his life until he avenges his mother’s murder. He learns that the man who killed his mother, Cole Slade, is feared by many, that he kidnaps Mexican girls, abusing and killing them for sport. Can Josh bring this lowlife to justice? At only eighteen years old, will he stack up against a seasoned killer?
Boeve speaks with expertise on the business of cattle drives in the mid-1800s and the cowboy’s life of that era. Her characters have depth, evoking the reader’s emotion. She maintains a good balance between tenderness and violence as the story weaves its way through ten years of the protagonist’s life. People who enjoy westerns will love Ride a Shadowed Trail.