Blood Land / River on Fire (books 52 and 53)

Blood Land / R.S. Guthrie

Synopsis – The wife of a small town sheriff is murdered. The confessed killer? The victim’s brother. The motive? No motive, it was an accident. Or so it would seem. Generations of pride and prejudice run deep in this saga of steel-jawed ranchers gone bad(der). A family feud has boiled over and flame is still stuck on high. Personal demons and crippling self-doubt be damned, this sheriff must see the trial of his wife’s killer through to the bitter end. Which weaknesses will he choose to obey? And who is ultimately guilty in a family ruled by greed and guns?

Reaction – A fair amount of grandiosity and cowboy angst, but the seamy and mysterious undercurrent made this modern western highly readable. The characters were well-balanced and kept me on the fence. High plains suspense with a mysteriously likeable antagonist. Read this if you’re in the mood for a for a broken cowboy hero tale with a satisfying double twist at the end.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here –


River on Fire / Scott Pratt

Synopsis – A boy, abandoned as a baby, grows up in an orphanage in the 1960s. As an outcast in school, and a victim of circumstance at the home, he learns to endure physical, sexual, and verbal abuse as a rite of passage. Through the tedium of years of abuse and mentoring, he transforms from a sensitive pacifist to a brawling army enlistee. On the cusp of adulthood, underneath his hardened exterior, he might still embrace a sliver of innermost childlike peace…

Reaction – This coming-of-age memoir-style novel lent itself to immediate empathy with this main character. As it was set in the turbulent 1960s, the cast of characters were swept up in intense social struggle and ideological transformation. The ending was wrapped up rather quickly, but upon finishing the book, I found my views on what it means to survive an abusive childhood had changed. Despite the harshness of the hardships, the story, as a whole, was uplifting. I highly recommend this book to those interested in exploring childhood abuse survival in a novel context.

Recommendation – This book renewed my will to live.

Get it here –


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