Sunday, July 25, 2010

Killing Trail - Charles Gramlich

We recently bought a Kindle when Amazon dropped the price, and the first book I bought for it and read on it is Charles Gramlich’s Western collection, KILLING TRAIL. It was a great way to inaugurate my Kindle-reading experience.


KILLING TRAIL includes two novellas, “Killing Trail” and “Showdown at Wild Briar”; two short stories, “Powder Burn” and “Once Upon a Time with the Dead”, an excerpt from Gramlich’s unpublished first novel, a Western called THE BEAR PAW VALLEY, and a couple of essays, one about the Old West history to be found in the area where Gramlich grew up in Arkansas and the other about Louis L’Amour. All the fiction is outstanding.  These are well-written yarns with good characters and plenty of action. “Showdown at Wild Briar” is probably my favorite of the bunch, because the hero has to escape from a particularly deadly trap and then finds an even worse plot twist waiting for him. “Once Upon a Time with the Dead” is a flash fiction piece, very poetic and effective. These stories have really whetted my appetite for the first full-length Western novel that Charles is bound to write one of these days, sooner rather than later, I hope. For now, you can start off with this collection, which I give a high recommendation.


As for the Kindle itself, I enjoyed reading KILLING TRAIL on it. When such devices were first introduced, I didn’t think I’d like them, but since then I’ve heard enough people whose opinions I respect say that they liked reading books on the Kindle so I wasn’t really surprised. I don’t know how to do much with it yet, like change the type size or navigate through a book other than one page at a time, but I’m sure I’ll learn all the little tricks. It almost certainly won’t replace reading actual books for me, but for things that are more easily available on the Kindle – or only available on the Kindle – I think it’s great.

11 comments:

David Cranmer said...

I enjoyed KILLING TRAIL as well. The stories (and presentation on the Kindle) were all top notch. And any collection that introduces a character named Sheriff Cranmer to the Old West must be praised :)

James Reasoner said...

Yeah, I was glad to see Sheriff Cranmer put in an appearance, too. I always get a kick out of things like that.

Randy Johnson said...

Don't yet own a Kindle, but the free KIndle application Amazon offers has let me sample a number of things I otherwise would not have had access. KILLING TRAIL was the first thing I bought and after that and others, I might be closer to buying the device than I have in the past.

Anonymous said...

I bought my Kindle over a year ago and now find I prefer it over print. It is lighter and easier to hold (you can hold the book, read, and turn the page using only one hand).

Wait until you sample the free books and, more importantly to me, the collections. Some examples:

Collected Works of Max Brand (17 novels) $1.99
Classic Western of Max Brand (13 novels) 99 cents
Classic Western of Zane Grey (25 westerns) 99 cents
Classic Western of B.M. Bower (35) 99 cents.

The major appeal of the e-book to me is the ease I can find any book despite the size of my library. I had gotten tired of buying a second or third copy of a book just because I wanted to read it again but could not find it hidden in the boxes of neglected loved books.

michael

Evan Lewis said...

Sounds good! I have "book" ready to read on my non-Kindle.

Charles Gramlich said...

James, thanks. I'm very glad you liked the stories. That means a lot coming from a western professional like yourself. There's a "James Starke" in "Showdown. Judge Earl Stark is one of my favorite characters by you. Thanks much for the review. I'm still very much enjoying my Kindle. I'm reading two books on it now. It's nice to be able to switch back and forth between books without having to carry a couple of different things with you.

ChuckTyrell said...

Oooh. Great minds must think alike as my latest Black Horse Western is The Killing Trail.

Charles Gramlich said...

Chuck, I saw that there was another title out there that was the same. they must have come out at almost the same time.

laughingwolf said...

grats on yet another fab review, charles!

Carole said...

I so don't want to be a kindle reader. But you make this book sound good enough to break down and do it.

Discouraging. I'm going to have to quit reading in the bathtub.

Shauna Roberts said...

Charles, do you plan on writing a full-length Western?