Letís say someone wronged you. They cut you off in traffic. Stole from you. Backed into your car and didnít leave a note. Hacked into your computer and left a virus.
Things like that make you mad, and you probably plot all kinds of revenge ranging from mild to murder. Sometimes, though, getting back at someone gets you nothing but trouble.
In the new novel ďA Tale Out of LuckĒ by Willie Nelson (with Mike Blakely), an old crime follows former Texas Ranger Hank Tomlinson, and someone wants revenge. The problem is, Hankís innocent.
In small towns, word travels fast. So when Hank Tomlinson brought a fine racing mare from Kentucky to tiny Luck, Texas, everybody knew about it.
Hank was famous in them parts. Once a Texas Ranger, then the founder of the town and owner of Broken Arrow Ranch, everybody knew Hank and liked him well.
Everybody, that is, except the neighbors at the Double Horn Ranch. Still, the Tomlinsons got by fine with Jack Brennan and his men at the Double Horn.
Then Hankís mare went missing on his sonsí watch. As if rustlers werenít enough of a problem, a stranger with arrows in his body and a branding rod in his possession was found near the Broken Arrow, and soldiers in nearby Fort Jennings attacked the Comanches with little provocation. Being unarmed in Indian Country was suddenly a foolish and dangerous thing.
When someone came pokiní around, asking about the strangerís murder, things got even worse.
As Hankís sons, Skeeter and Jay Blue, went in search of the missing mare, Hank found himself in the fight of his life. Years before, three of his fellow Rangers were killed, and rumor was that Hank murdered them. The distinctive markings on the arrows found in the stranger were identical to the ones that killed Hankís friends. Hank knows the arrows came from someone aimed at revenge, but he has no alibi and the State Police are on their way to arrest him.
With the help of a heart oígold saloon keeper, an albino ex-slave and his Mexican wife, two wet-behind-the-ears boys, and several ranch hands, Hank tries to save himself from the noose before time and Luck run out.
Well. All I can say is that author Willie Nelson might want to keep his day job.
Thatís not to say that this is a bad book, because itís not. But alas, itís not a great book, either.
ďA Tale Out of LuckĒ lacks the poetry of good westerns and its authenticity is questionable, particularly the language. While the characters are likeable, theyíre typical western fare. The ubiquitous cowboys-and-Indians battle scene is exciting but culminates in a silly ending with just too many ho-hum, saw-that-one-coming coincidences.
This book reads good enough but could be better, thatís all. Itís merely okay.
Readers who put cowpoke novels on their reading list just for something different might like this book. If youíre a die-hard western fan looking for the next LíAmour or Kelton, though, youíre out of luck here.