Monday, April 20, 2009

Tales from Deadwood: The Troopers -- Mike Jameson

I've mentioned this series before (here, here, and here), and of course I've pointed out that Mike Jameson is really this famous blogger and best-selling writer. The people at Berkley did him no favors with this series, giving the books generic covers that have little or nothing to do with the contents and bringing out the fourth book at an interval of four years after the first. That's too bad, because I think this is one of his best series.

The main characters this time are Dan Ryan, familiar from the earlier books, and Major Stephen Ransome, newly arrived in Deadwood with General George Crook's troops. Both Ryan and Ransome are plagued by three troopers who know things about them and who want revenge on them. The troopers also have plans to retire from the army by pulling off a big caper. Ransome would like nothing better than to stay in Deadwood and spend the rest of his life with a whore named Arabella, who is hardly the lady that Ransome (and others) imagines her to be.

The usual Deadwood characters are here, too, primarily Al Swearengen and Calamity Jane, who's maybe the most interesting person in the book. Jameson does a great job with her, and she becomes pathetic and hilarious at the same time.

There's also plenty of action: shooting, fighting, sex, and violence. Things don't slow down a lot. Since this book was probably written five years ago and is only now being released, I suppose it's the last one we'll see in the series. That's a shame. Check it out while you can, but read the others first if you get a chance. This one stands alone, but it's nice if you know some of the backstory, particularly for Dan Ryan.


David Cranmer said...

I couldn't agree more. Calamity Jane and the descriptions of her and the reactions to her was funny. I enjoyed the trio of supercilious troopers looking to do Ransome and Ryan in and the famous brothers that wander into Deadwood in the closing pages. I would like Dan Ryan to continue and since you already mentioned it, the cover doesn't do this fine western justice.

Randy Johnson said...

Loved the novel, but agree the cover was a bit generic. Fortunately being familiar with the author's work didn't put me off.
A casual reader looking for something new might be different. Publishers really should do better.