Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Hell Bent Kid, a Novel by Charles O. Locke

This story takes place in North Texas and New Mexico. It seems this hell bent kid is boxed in. He is called "Tot", but his real name is Tate, Tate Lohman, and he has been working for a while on the Restow ranch and thinking about leaving for Socorro, New Mexico, to be with his father. His father and he were the only family members left, except for his brother Harley and who knew where he was and what he was doing. "Tot" was hired by Henry Restow because "Tot" killed Shorty Boyd and was on probation. The murder was self defense, but the Boyd family thought otherwise.

Restow warned the young kid that if he left the ranch, the Boyds would chase him down and kill him, but he left for Socorro anyway figuring to outsmart the Boyds or miss them altogether. He didn't, he ran smack dab into 'em and ended up afoot, but still alive. And his journey to Socorro gets interesting and I didn't know if he was going to make it or not. After a horrible trip, he finally makes it and finds his brother Harley,but the meeting doesn't last long after he finds his father no longer among the living.

"Tot" turns back to Texas but stays at the ranch of Amos Bradley in Santa Clara, New Mexico, and falls for a daughter, Juanita. The story ends as he is under surveillance by the Boyds again. I won't reveal the ending, but I will say this was a terrific tale by the author. Mister Locke peppered the story with local idioms and dialogue which took a little getting used to, but by the end it was just part of the story, became less noticeable, and adds to it. I give this story a five-star rating. The author's bio says the novel "was one of the top twenty-five western novels of all time [states] the Western Writers of America . . . [and made into a movie, From Hell to Texas.]"

(I reviewed the book at the request of Open Road Media and will share it on Facebook, Twitter, and maybe other places where it shows up.)

NOTE: The header picture is the old Prescott (AZ) Courthouse seen through the trees from Gurley Street.

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