Review: Streets of Laredo

Streets of Laredo
Streets of Laredo by Larry McMurtry
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I couldn’t wait for this book to end. It shouldn’t have been this way, but there it was. McMurtry was more frustrating than ever with his head-hopping and back stories about minor characters who just didn’t warrant all that info dumped on the reader.

Why, why, why would the man pause in an action scene, the final confrontation with the killer we’ve been hunting all along, to give us back story on a freakin’ butcher? Or to go deep into the thought process of the person facing the killer? Pull the damn trigger already!

The story contained here could have been told in about 100 pages if McMurtry had just stuck to it. But he didn’t, and it dragged on and on and on and on some more with so much useless detail I’d often forget what was happening in the present moment of the tale.

The whole Mox Mox subplot made me mad, too. He isn’t in Lonesome Dove. And with McMurtry’s penchant for revealing every tangent of thought of every character to even come close to his story, there is no possible way Lorena was used and nearly burned to death by this famous killer during the time she was with Blue Duck. This, along with the inconsistencies of the Gus/Clara relationship is just sloppy plotting.

I also didn’t buy for a New York minute that Lorena fell in love and married Pea Eye Parker.

That aside, the story itself is pretty sad. You have a good mother whose son has gone bad, but the real thing is the end of the Hat Creek outfit and Woodrow F. Call coming to terms with the fact he is outdated. It’s hard to watch such a competent man try to deal with arthritis and the other signs of age. He does redeem himself somewhat for his treatment of Newt in Lonesome Dove.

The story is a satisfying conclusion to the Lonesome Dove quartet, but it’s told in the most boring way possible.

The narration of the audio book did not help matters at all. Daniel Von Bargen is a slow reader and his monotonous voice made all the mental side trips even more tedious.

I know this was the second book written in the series. It’s also the worst. I enjoyed the (chronological) first three, but can’t imagine ever reading this one again.

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