Review: Mojave

Mojave by Johnny D. Boggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think there are three classes of Western novel. There are the books like the John Slocum series written by “Jake Logan” and the Preacher series by William W. Johnstone where the action is non-stop and there really isn’t much in the way of character development or nuance of plot and theme. Then you have most of Louis L’Amour’s work or Elmer Kelton or Johnny Quarles, where there aren’t a lot of subplots, but typically a good amount of character development and enough action to keep things moving. Then you have the Lonesome Doves or Terry C. Johnson’s work where massive amounts of text are spent developing character and weaving together subplots in a epic fashion.

Johnny D. Boggs’ Mojave is one of those middle books, with leanings toward the first category. This story about Micah Bishop and his encounter(s) with Whip Watson and Candy Crutchfield and the “brides” going to Calico, California, is filled with action, but along the way Micah is a fully developed character who, despite a rough past, is pretty likable as he pens his narrative from Folsom Prison.

The story itself is fairly predictable, but the telling is enjoyable. Micah likes hearing a lady read to him in prison, so he makes many references to Moby Dick and Paradise Lost, as well as some dime novel accounts of the events he was embroiled in, and I found that to be interesting.

One thing I’ll say for Boggs, he does his homework. No one ever just pulls a revolver. He’ll give you the brand name and caliber just about every time a firearm is mentioned. It was actually a little tedious. He also like describing people’s clothes.

All in all, this was a fun read and I’d recommend it to someone looking for a fairly light Western novel. The narration by Henry Stozier on the audiobook was fantastic.

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