Enjoyable Kelton: “The Way of the Coyote” – Book Review

Like to read Westerns?  Elmer Kelton’s The Way of the Coyote (2000) is a dandy one.

A post-Civil War chronicle with former Unionists and Confederates, it also eminently concerns white youngsters kidnapped and raised by Comanche Indians.  This is what happened to Andy, no longer a youngster, who is rescued by Rusty Shannon after the former kills a vicious Comanche with an animus toward him.  Later in the book, Andy goes off to retrieve another lad whom the Comanches have kidnapped.  Meanwhile, good Rusty has problems with the scurvy Oldham brothers, who steal his farm.  Enemies come from all sides in Coyote.

Kelton’s novel is flawed in that, like numerous other Westerns, it has too many two-dimensional characters and in that Andy should be a little more callow and naive than he is after living so long with the Indians.  The plot, however, is expert, and the novel never gets boring.  The Comanches are not sanitized and carpetbaggers are unsympathetic.  What’s more, the author accords great respect to a Christian minister–Preacher WebbThe Way of the Coyote is a fun, wholesome read.

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