The Thinking Man's Texas Ranger returns in "The Coyote Tracker"
May 19, 2013
May 1875 finds Texas Ranger Josiah Wolfe back in Austin, Texas and very much in career limbo. Wolfe is still is a Texas Ranger despite the recent events and the media backlash. But, he has been told to stay in Austin and await the arrival of Captain Leander McNelly who will decide one more time if Ranger Wolfe is worth it. Not only is his career with the Rangers at stake, so too is the future of the Texas Rangers as an organization thanks to the coverage by the Austin Statesman newspaper. Both Wolfe and the Rangers have a negative connotation these days and forces are moving to do away with both.
At least Wolfe's forced idleness has a couple of positive aspects. One is that he is able to court Pearl Fikes. A romance is building there between the widow Fikes and Wolfe despite the issues they both bring to a relationship. Being home in Austin also means Wolfe can spend time with his rapidly growing son, Kyle. During his frequent and often long absences, he is cared for by Ofelia who has been with him many years now and is far more than a trusted caregiver. She is akin to family and Wolfe is well aware of his obligations to her and others.
Obligations that also are present with fellow Ranger Scrap Elliot. Scrap finds himself in the local jail, accused of murdering a whore. Seen at the body with blood on his hands, he briefly fled the scene, and now there seems to be a push to hang him for the most recent murder as well as for several other crimes. Crimes he certainly did not commit though those in charge seem more concerned about hanging any suspect rather than hanging the correct person. What role Scrap's worsening situation plays in the recent string of events involving a jail break, a mysterious cypher, a strangely familiar horse, and other recent events is something Wolfe has to figure out in time to save the life of his friend.
Award winning author Larry D. Sweazy has crafted yet another outstanding tale in this long running series. Along with multiple plot lines and action are authentic details that make this novel and series come alive for readers. More mystery in a western setting than a western in a western setting, it may not appeal as much to those who want the typical formulaic western fare. This is not one of those kind of formulaic western novels as Wolfe spends much of the time thinking, asking questions, and dealing with various relationship issues. There is good reason why the novel received the "Spur Award for Best Mass Market Paperback" as The Coyote Tracker: A Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger Novel is good on its own while continuing this excellent series in fine tradition.
Material in large print was supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas public Library System.
"Larry D. Sweazy writes a lively blend of mystery, action, and historical realism."—John D. Nesbitt
"Sweazy has the rare and enviable ability to convey a balance of gripping action and weighty themes in a conversational manner...He's a natural storyteller, born to the task."—Matthew P. Mayo, author of Haunted Old West
"Larry D. Sweazy could well be a new star in the world of western fiction."—Western Fiction Review