“Shadow of a Star,” Representation Of The Wild West

I would have enjoyed Elmer Kelton‘s novel, Shadow of a Star (1959)—“star” as in sheriff’s badge—a tad more had it been devoid of the hackneyed concept of townspeople demanding that a deputy turn over to them an appalling killer so that he might be lynched.  The deputy, young Jim-Bob, is the sole person in charge of the killer now that the sheriff, Mont Naylor, has been badly wounded.

Ah, but for a short Western, the book is pretty rich and certainly exciting—not really tired.  Hell is other people—Jim-Bob faces lawbreakers big and small—yet the tale is uncynical.  Men can often be trusted, those can’t be are in genuine trouble.  Further, there is much economy and little softness in Star.  It can’t be much improved on.

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