The Quick and The Dead

[openbook booknumber=”0553107615″]


You’d think with a title like The Quick and The Dead I wouldn’t be surprised by all the dead. The Quick and The Dead was my very first “real” western, as I’ve been told Little House on the Prairie doesn’t count as a western. It was a nice short book and was supposed to be the proverbial toe in the pool. I came away feeling like someone had come up behind me and shoved me in. And, it wasn’t pleasant.

The Quick and The Dead is a novel about a small family making their first foray into the west, tenderfoots they are called. During all of this they meet up with the main character Con Vallian. Con was a bit like the Mary Sue of fanfiction. Doesn’t have many faults and goes around showing everyone how perfect he is and how dumb the supposedly main characters really are. He is the perfect western man and has nobility and a bit of education to boot. Swoon worthy, I suppose but, while I liked the character, the way he was written got on my nerves rather quickly.

Out here you better have a gun, and a gun in the wagon ain’t good for nothin’. I believe what the old Quaker said, ‘Trust in the Lord, but keep your powder dry.'”

Louis L’Amour, at least in this novel was all about telling the story, and very little about showing it. There were only occasional descriptions, just enough to paint a lukewarm picture. I didn’t really feel like I was there at all. Though, in the end, that was probably a good thing the novel could have turned out down right gory considering that (in the manner of most horror/thrillers) several characters become The Dead.

My last complaint is the fact that there was a bit of a plot hole in the novel. I’m not used to reading stories with plot holes, as normally I either tend to miss them or forgive them. With this one, though, while there were ways to explain it away he went to such lengths to spell every thing else out for us (sometimes multiple times) that it seemed like simply something he missed instead of something he left unspoken. He also set up a lot of characters for great final face offs and then several of them didn’t end up happening. Some might view them as plot twists, I just viewed it as a cop out.

Basically, if you like westerns this might be a cute little deviation for you, or fun bathroom reading. If you don’t, or only like quality westerns, give this one a pass. Duncan wasn’t the only one ready to see Con on his way by the end of this book.

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