Monday, June 17, 2019

The Scarred One - Tyler Boone (Charles Gramlich)

Trenton Banning arrives in the mining boomtown of Sun Falls, Wyoming, on the trail of the man he blames for the fire that killed his parents when he was a child and left Banning badly scarred. Banning is convinced that mining and hotel tycoon Jonathan Hunsinger is responsible for that blaze, and Hunsinger is now in Sun Falls engaged in building a hotel and operating a mine. However, Banning isn’t in town long before he discovers a couple of things: Hunsinger has a beautiful daughter, Elizabeth, and something sinister is going on in Sun Falls. In short order, the one friend Banning makes, a burly mountain man, is attacked and badly injured. Then Banning is framed for the murder of a saloon girl, and the local lawmen won’t be any help since they seem to want Banning dead just as much as everybody else in Sun Falls.

THE SCARRED ONE is the first full-length Western novel by Charles Gramlich, writing under the pseudonym Tyler Boone. It’s an excellent debut that features top-notch handling of the traditional Western elements while at the same time giving the reader plenty of well-developed characters and some unexpected plot twists. Trenton Banning is a fine protagonist, tough enough to handle himself when trouble crops up but not a superman. The budding attraction between him and Elizabeth Hunsinger is particularly well done, and the novel’s climax is a satisfying one.

Gramlich has done very good work over the years in the horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres, and THE SCARRED ONE proves that he’s equally capable of delivering an excellent Western novel. I recommend this one and look forward to many more.

(Note: As the awards chair for Western Fictioneers’ Peacemaker Awards, I receive a number of novels every year, many of which I’d like to read. I don’t have anything to do with the actual judging for the awards—my job is strictly keeping track of the entries and counting the votes at the end of the competition—but I’ve always felt like it wouldn’t be proper for me to review any of these books while the competition is still going on, just to avoid the appearance of any undue influence. So this year I’ve decided to go ahead and read and review the ones I want to, but I’ve scheduled the posts to run after the awards have been announced. That’s why you’re seeing this in June, rather than in January when I wrote it. Look for more Peacemaker reviews to come.)


Peter Brandvold said...

Sounds like a winner! I just downloaded a copy.

Cheryl Pierson said...

I really enjoyed this one!

Oscar Case said...

Nice review and Mr. Boone (Charles Gramlich) writes a fine western.

Andrew McBride said...

If THE SCARRED ONE is as good as ‘THE LONG RIDE’ Charles/ Tyler’s contribution to the Scott Harris-edited short story anthology THE SHOT RANG OUT, then it’ll be an excellent debut novel.