This week, I’ve decided to show you my favourite novels by a renowned western novelist. Like crime fiction, westerns are a great pandemic read because they’re interesting, action-packed and easy to read.
Crime fiction is the literary genre of the pandemic because it is a thrilling escape that’s easy to read and comes in a wide variety of styles.
There’s a crime fiction author for everyone, and the same could be said for adventure or western authors.
As someone who loves western films, I was excited when I realized that many were based on books.
Over recent weeks, I’ve discovered a wide range of western authors who have created amazing stories set in the Wild West. While some authors have problematic representations of women and other races, these are often the products of their time, and some are surprisingly progressive.
I’ve enjoyed a lot of westerns when I needed to read a book that was exciting but not too complicated. One of my favorite authors is Louis L’Amour, mostly because some of his novels have been made into movies starring the amazing Sam Elliott.
As a big fan of Elliott, who’s the epitome of the old west, I found L’Amour quickly and enjoyed reading his books. He wrote many dozens of short novels throughout his career, so there’s a lot to choose from. Most of these novels are westerns, although some are longer epics and others are incredible action adventures.
If you’re looking for gripping tales of the Wild West filled with action and hardboiled characters, then check out my list of his top five.
5. Son of a Wanted Man: One of several novels featuring one or more members of the Sackett family, this novel is about an outlaw who’s looking for someone to take over his reign. His adopted son is the favourite, but he’s not a lawbreaker, and so he’s stuck in a tug of war between his adopted family and lawmakers who want him to use his skills with guns and knives for good, not criminal deeds. The novel is gripping and an intriguing study of good and bad in the Wild West. The Sacketts are reoccurring characters, and this is one great book that features some of them.
4. Silver Canyon: This novel, which is both set and published in the late 1950s, is a creative western that focuses on a young drifter and gunslinger, named Matt Brennan. This protagonist is a favourite of L’Amour, and he creates them well, making gripping individuals who are an intense combination of rugged and believable. In this novel, the protagonist falls in love while travelling around, and gets caught up in a fight between warring factions in her hometown to win her freedom to be with him.
3. The Lonesome Gods: In this book, a young man is abandoned by his family and left to die in the desert. Partially raised by native Americans, he becomes an educated and gentle man who enjoys adventure but also has deep emotions. He falls in love, but his path to happiness is blocked by the past as it hurtles to catch up with him. This novel gives a great insight into a variety of different religions and cultures in rural California. It’s an epic tale that will keep you hooked from the first page to the final one.
2. The Sackett Brand: There are more than a dozen novels featuring the Sackett family, and I’ve not read all of them, but I have checked out a few, and this later novel is my favourite featuring these proud characters. The family has a unique code of conduct, and every novel that they feature in is intriguing and riveting. In The Sackett Brand, L’Amour’s renowned family of outlaws, ranchers and more face off against a band of gangsters who are threatening Tell Sackett. The action is fast-paced and the reader quickly becomes immersed in this enticing and beguiling novel.
1. The Quick And The Dead: This short, enticing novel can be read in one sitting, and it won’t disappoint. One of the best things about L’Amour is that he jumps straight into the action; we’re immediately introduced to a stranger, who comes upon a family travelling and joins them for coffee. While sitting with them, he mentions that he noticed that their horses have been stolen by a local band of criminals. What ensues is a gripping chase across the west and a unique study of human nature.