A quiet, haunted man, Paul Cable walked away from a lost cause hoping to pick up where he left off. But things have changed in Arizona since he first rode out to go fight for the Confederacy. Two brothers—Union men—have claimed his spread and they’re not about to give it back, leaving Cable and his family no place to settle in peace. It seems this war is not yet over for Paul Cable. But no one’s going to take away his land and his future—not with their laws, their lies, or their guns.
Another winner by Elmore Leonard. In these early works he seems to favor the strong, silent hero. His heroes take a lot of abuse but show restraint in responding until they are pushed to their limits. He also shows that his hero in this book can take an adversarial relationship and turn it around. In this book, his hero, Paul Cable, is a rebel soldier returning home just before the end of the Civil War. He finds that his house and land have been occupied by a group of men that are supplying fresh horses to the Union Army.
Instead of going in to this situation with guns blazing, he seeks to work it out with the group through many different avenues. By the end of the book, we find Cable and his adversary uniting against a common enemy. Leonard ends the book abruptly leaving us to speculate how the future will turn out for these two admirable, but amazingly similar, characters.
Leonard takes great pains to slowly reveal details about his characters’ personalities. He improves at this technique with each book. His endings sometimes leave a bit to be desired, but his practice of abrupt endings somehow brings more realism to his stories in a way that suggests that the characters go on with their lives much as we do.
I give this book three and a half pizzas out of five.