This Gun for Hire
By Jo Goodman
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Scott
A rarity in the overpopulated romance genre, Jo Goodman, finely manages to regulate the romance with a hard-hitting action and plot. Make no mistake about it. This Gun’s for Hire is a Western first and foremost, with romance on the side. The novel almost doesn’t even feel like a romance for the most part; more like a period piece. It was a delightful change from the majority of “bed to bed” stories you typically read. Very little head shaking moments occurred.
The historical detail is light, but fact filed, and the lands of Stonechurch , 1888, is made more vibrant because of it. At no point does the prose wear thin. Vivid description, snappy banter, humorous situations and discourses on esoteric subjects pepper the book and it stands strong because of it. The writing is probably a few dozen notches up on the rest of the genre’s leaders. The sheer fact that the plot holds sway over the romance (not that it’s absent, mind you), but doesn’t reduce it to a subplot, garners merit; and the plot is a tried and true formula given new life.
The main characters are also well thought out and presented in that melodramatic western movie feel. The dialogue style was unique to each character and at no point do you confuse them – they speak in their own unique voices. Fully three-dimensional, each can basically be identified by their speech. The main protagonists, Quill McKenna, and Calico Nash, make a duo that you actually root for. Even side characters like Ramsey Stonechurch, and his daughter Ann are delightful accomplice du faits. Throughout the eddies and currents of the waters these characters ride, there is a solid reader affirmation that everything is going to plan.
The novels strongest points derive from the fact that you feel like you’re watching a Western. The situations are over the top, with larger than life characters participating in movie fair. There is humor, sadness, despair, longing, and other emotions pouring out of the book. The novel, in my opinion, just needed a fancy score and Clint Eastwood as he was in The Outlaw Josey Wales, and Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead and this story would hit me with the same effect. The novel conveyed it’s message in action, rather than diction, and rates it a solid five stars.
For fans of westerns, historical romances, movies like The Quick and the Dead, or The Outlaw Josey Wales, this will grip you and leave you asking for more.