Deer Run Trail is a fine little Western story with an excellent mix of action, romance, humor, and historical detail. It doesn’t have the epic scope of something like Lonesome Dove, and doesn’t really qualify as a book of high literary merit, but I doubt David R. Lewis was aiming for that. It’s very much a genre book, a plot-driven story, though we get enough character development to make us care about Reuben and his new friends.
Reuben stops to help an older gent who’s been shot, beaten, and robbed. That act of kindness changes his life, as he falls in with a U.S. marshal, takes part in a gun battle, and then agrees to help bring down a corrupt sheriff extorting the residents of Deer Run, Missouri. Along the way he makes more friends, courts a couple of pretty girls, does a lot of carpentry, and runs for sheriff. It’s a damn fine story.
I switched back and forth between the e-book and audio version of this story, but found myself much preferring the audio. Lewis reads his own stories and is one of the best performers I’ve come across in audio books. His range of voices is stunning, his vocalization very clear, and he really just perfectly captures the nuances of his characters.
If you like John Wayne Westerns, you’re going to like Deer Run Trail. I’ll be starting the next book in Lewis’s Trail series tomorrow. (I’m also reading his Journey to an Unknown Destination, which is about his spiritual quest. Good stuff!)