The Streets of Laredo – Larry McMurty

I wouldn’t normally go near a Western, but I have been wanting to read one of these books ever since the mini-series Lonesome Dove was aired. This is a lengthy book and is, on the whole, character driven. Of course there is a plot – good guys vs bad guys, but the lines can become a bit blurred. If our main good guy gets into a rage, he is likely to beat the object of his rage to death. It is also very bleak. There may have been a female character who hadn’t been raped (and most multiple times) but I can’t recall one. Most had been beaten and plenty of them murdered. Children don’t escape either with rape, torture and nasty deaths happening at regular intervals. It is also a story about old age and its effects. Our hero has become quite elderly and arthritis and failing eyesight are as much his enemies as the psychopaths he is hunting.
The characters are well drawn, but it is difficult to feel empathy for the male characters. The female characters mainly show great strength and compassion in their hideous world.
I will read another one of these one day and would recommend this book – but don’t expect any laughs.

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