Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Ghosts of Elkhorn -- Kerry Newcomb & Frank Schaefer

This is a fine book, but I wonder if it could even find a publisher these days, much less The Viking Press, which published this edition.

Newcomb and Schaefer wrote a number of bestselling paperbacks under various names. Eventually Schaefer drifted away from the partnership (I assume), and Newcomb continued on his own. His westerns and historicals are well worth looking for.

This book is about The Wind River Kid, who lives alone in the ghost town of Elkhorn. Well, alone except for the ghost of Aden Creed, a horse, a bear that may or may not be a ghost, and a pesky falcon. The Kid's tired of that life, and he decides to move down the mountain to civilization. But it's 1927, and The Kid finds it a tad difficult to accept that his favorite whorehouse is now a beauty salon and that the general store where he bought his supplies has sold out to a Piggly Wiggly. So The Kid returns to Elkhorn, only to find that it's been invaded by a young man and woman on the run from a bagman for the mob. Before it's all over, The Kid will have to confront more than gunmen. He'll have to face the ghosts of his own past.

The next time you're in the mood for something entirely different, something stylish and nostalgic, see if you can find this one.

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