Eric Bishop likes to say that The Samaritan’s Pistol is about a guy who had a gun and used it when he needed it. It’s a pithy, memorable way to describe his book and the cover certainly conveys this idea.
But Eric’s book is much deeper than a simple gunslinger western—although there are horses, guns, ranches, sheriffs, and hay bales a plenty. I tease him that it’s cowboys versus mobsters, but even that’s too reductive. The Samaritan’s Pistol blends several different genres into one rip-roaring read that sure to delight readers of thrillers, westerns, spy, literary fiction, and crime novels. There’s even a little skinny dip into romance.
With a few keystrokes, Eric paints rural life in small town Wyoming where people generally let people live as they please, but fiercely circle the wagons at the first sight outsider trouble for those they consider their own. I’ve lived in these kinds of communities and the small kindnesses that Eric describes are as real and as genuine as the characters he creates. In many ways his story is as much about this way of life as it is about murder, revenge, and money stolen from the mob.
But you knew it had to come back to the mob, right?
Jim Cooper’s ex-military and living as a rancher and wilderness guide in the town he grew up in. Except for a couple of ranch hands and his dog, Duke, he’s pretty much a loner. Like most modern-day cowboys, he’s got his own moral code about fair fights and damsels in distress, so it’s no surprise that when he comes upon three men on a mountain trail about to shoot an unarmed fourth he decides to even up the odds. When the smoke clears, Jim has three bodies to pack out, a dead horse, an injured man to care for, and more trouble than he knows what to do with. It’s a journey that sends him to Las Vegas and back and gives a new meaning to shoot, shovel, and shut up.
But I gotta warn you. The fight doesn’t end in this book. I think Eric’s got a couple more novels about Jim Cooper simmering in the ol’ dutch oven.
If you’re looking for the perfect read for the hardworking, rather-be-fishing, what-these-moody-vampire-kids-need-is-a-job man in your life, The Samaritan’s Pistol fits the bill.
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