Review: Nodaway Trail

Nodaway Trail
Nodaway Trail by David R. Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s pretty unusual for me to go on a binge of a single author’s books, but I’m drinking deep from the well with David R. Lewis. I still need to do a review of his The Endless Journey to an Unknown Destination. But this is about Nodaway Trail, the second book in his Trail series about young Ruben Beeler.

I’m loving this series. Each book is kind of like a prolonged Gunsmoke episode, but with character growth. (I love Gunsmoke, but c’mon, nobody really grew or changed over the course of the series.) In this installment, Ruben and Harmony are expecting a baby, but Marion Daniels needs Rube to help him clear out some more bad men, so the newly minted sheriff of Deer Run sets out to do that. Several other characters from the previous book make a return, most notably Arkansas Bill Cole.

What I’m loving about Lewis’s stories are the excellent mix of action, introspection, history and information (the dude knows his guns!), and especially the easy humor shared among the characters. Granted, Harmony is maybe a little too perfect a woman, but that’s forgivable. It’ll be interesting to see if she comes to change her mind about her husband always running off to fight bad men as the Beeler family grows.

Lewis narrates his own books, and he’s damn good at it. I seriously envy his vocal talents. I read the e-book of Journey, but all his Westerns I’ve devoured have been in audio because I love his narration. There’s never a doubt about which character is speaking. He employs varied dialects and intonations to make each voice distinct and memorable. One of the characters actually sounds a great deal like Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillon (I’ll let you figure out which one I’m thinking of).

If you like Westerns, or suspense with a lot of action and a generous helping of humor, I think you’ll enjoy these books. I started the third book in the series as soon as Nodaway Trail ended.

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