|Cover of latest edition|
When I was growing up, Roy Rodgers was still “King of the Cowboys” and Gene Autry’s “Melody Ranch” was winding down a long run on CBS radio. Roy and Gene were, of course, the good guys and they always handled black-hatted scoundrels with relative ease. Well, I’m here to tell you that even Roy and Gene would have had their hands full with villains like those in Bill Crider’s western novel Outrage at Blanco.
Set in the small-town Texas of 1887, Outrage at Blanco begins with a kick directly to the reader’s gut. Ellie Taine, on her way back to the farm with a wagonload of groceries, encounters two cowboy psychopaths only a mile out of town where she is brutally raped and beaten by the men. The cowboys plan to be in Blanco only as long as it takes to rob the town’s one bank, and not being at all worried about being called to account for the rape, they allow Ellie to live. Bad mistake, that.
Ellie Taine has had enough, and after her husband fails in his own efforts to hold the men accountable for what they did to her, Ellie goes after them herself. But she does not plan to bring these guys back to the sheriff when she finds them – she has other plans for their immediate future. Outrage in Blanco, though, is more than just a shoot-‘em-up western. Crider has populated little Blanco, Texas, with a whole cast of characters who get involved in everything from bank-robbing to incompetent attempts at heroism to living life at the fullest before it is forever too late to do so. Some of them deserve a book all their own.
(There is also a second Ellie Taine novel titled Texas Vigilante.)