What an Exhilarating Ride!
They say that western novels have fallen from favor. My wish for anyone that believes that is that they must read D. B. Jackson’s They Rode Good Horses, the epic story that spans fifty years of the nineteenth century. What? Pressed for time, you say? Okay, then just read the first chapter. I will promise you that the urge to keep turning pages will soon have you through the book, a smile on your face and you, dear reader will have just become a member of the D. B. Jackson Fan Club! Brady and Franklin are boy buddies in this nineteenth-century coming-of-age story. Franklin, older by five years, dominates his ten-year-old pal with lies laced with arrogant bravado, but all in good fun and with mutual admiration. The two compadres meet in the winter of 1840 in St. Joseph, Missouri as their families wait for a springtime wagon train west. They get their first horses by trading work in the livery stable for their mounts. And with spring-time they leave their boyhood pranks and adventures in St. Joe as the assembled wagon train points the lead team west. While the story will keep you glued to your reading chair, Jackson’s prose makes the journey poetically pleasant. By way of a small sample, enjoy a few the author’s words. ͞By seven, the caravan of wagons formed into a moving tangle of disorder that somehow righted itself into a tedious convoy as it did day after day, inching along with no sense of harmony with the virgin land it lacerated with its steel wheels.͟The two close friends grow from boys to manhood on that wagon train trip and for the rest of their lives. The telling of those adventurers will be left in the capable and competent hands of D. B. Jackson. Authenticity pours from every one of the author’s pages. You will shiver with cold during the snow storms. Your blood will run cold in their veins as you read about attacks of the hostiles. And you’ll puff out your chest with pride as you read of the heroics of the Western Military detachments. The details described by the author are associated with ancient skills known only to the surviving small group of working cowboys, of which Mr. Jackson is a member. The main storyline follows the lives of Brady and Franklin, you will greatly enjoy the colorful characters that inhabit their world. They make friends easily, keep them close and cherish the relationships they develop. All that is offered by the author to his readers in unapologetic prose you will remember long after you finish this novel. With apologies to Elmer Kelton, Louis L’Amour, and Joe R. Lansdale, I’m moving D.B. Jackson to the very top of my WWWW list. For the uninitiated, that is Western Writers We Watch. I just can’t say enough good about this author and his work. The book is highly recommended for those who favor great writing and fine storytelling, in any genre!