Monday, June 29, 2020


By Loren D. Estleman
Forge Books
271 pgs

There are writers who are so damn dependable, you can pick up anything they’ve done and know before even opening the cover you are going to be entertained to the max. One such pulp scribe, is Loren D. Estleman. Though known primarily for his mysteries, Estleman is also highly regarded for his down to earth, folksy westerns. His knowledge of history is spot on and as wild and colorful as his western characters may be, they always appear on a realistic stage to tell their tales.

Such is the case with this wildly insane comedy from 2015. Cowboys turned gunslingers, Randy Locke and Frank Farmer are feuding but neither can remember why. The only thing they know is each wants to shoot the other dead. And thus begins this chase after one another that goes from the 1880s up through the start of the new century. From all over the west, to Barbary Coast of California, to the Oklahoma Territories, the gold fields of Alaska and the oil fields of Texas. It is a journey both men will endure numerous hardships and deprivations to eventually satiate their obsessive goal; to kill the other in a fair gunfight.

If you think the plot is outlandish, you are correct but Estleman’s way with the times, the birth of a nation and the people who parented it are part of the magic he imbues in Randy and Frank. In them is the good and bad in all of us, fighting to achieve even a modicum of purpose in this mystery we call life. “The Long High Noon” is one of the most unforgettable books we’ve ever read. If you like originality, so will you. Count on it.

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