The Shopkeeper: A Steve Dancy Tale
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The Shopkeeper: A Steve Dancy Tale (Steve Dancy Tales #1)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  345 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In 1879, Steve Dancy sells his New York shop and ventures west to explore and write a journal about his adventures. Though he's not looking for trouble, Dancy's infatuation with another man's wife soon embroils him in a deadly feud with Sean Washburn, a Nevada silver baron. Infuriated by the outrages of two hired thugs, the shopkeeper kills both men in an impulsive street...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 319 pages
Published November 1st 2009 by Center Point (first published November 21st 2007)
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Birdie Tracy
Tough Times and Rugged Survivors

Tough Times and Rugged Survivors

As time goes, it wasn't really that long ago when the western United States was a place where just about anything could, and did, happen. Law enforcement was spotty and corruption was rampant. This opened the door for power hungry ruthless men to come in and take whatever they wanted. Sean Washburn, the villain of this story, was just this sort of man as demonstrated by the dead bodies left in his wake.

How do you fight this type of...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
A fun western. I haven't read a lot of westerns, but this one was enjoyable. New York shopkeeper Steve Dancy sells his shop and travels west, looking for adventure. His travels take him to the silver mines of Nevada. A gentleman who prefers books and cards with friends, Steve inadvertently finds himself a gunslinger embroiled in a feud with a silver baron. Add a beautiful woman, hired killers and some early Nevada history and you have The Shopkeeper.

The story was fast paced and entertaining. The...more
This book was fun for me. The first books I remember reading were my grandpa's Louis L'Amour books, so I have a huge affection and affinity for westerns, but the genre has all but collapsed. When I started reading this I found all the familiar elements that make me love L'Amour's books, but with a greater depth of character than some of his books. I enjoyed the plot and pacing, and having grown up in New Washoe City, near Carson and Virginia City, I got a certain joy from the setting. However, t...more
Really liked this fast paced novel of Old West. Steve Dancy, the protagonist, has looks, Eastern class, and big money--perfect hero, especially since he is a great shot and a gunsmith and loves to read. Okay--it's not real literature, but it sure is entertaining with a pretty good look at the lawlessness that existed in mining towns. The characters were quite interesting. If the good guy triumphs in the end, why not?
The first story in the series about a reluctant gunfighter, or at least initially not keen, but it seems the idea grows on him.
I would have given this tale four and a half stars but the hero is too clever for comfort (he's always got a plan) and he gets a very easy ride through the drama. He needs to battle a bit more through some rough patches to liven the whole thing up. The few scenes of blood and thunder have been largely described without either. Murder and rape are rather skimmed over.
Louis L'Amour has spoiled me for almost any other westerns.
When you have a man who has, literally, lived all he's writing about, it's painfully obvious when you read a story by a man who hasn't.
Sorry, Mr. Best.
At first, I thought this was your typical western: outsider of moral integrity comes to small western town near Carson City and pistol duels with the corrupt thugs who run the town through fear and bribery. But there's more to it than that; bringing down the empire of corruption that includes a sheriff, mayor, banker, judge, governor candidate, and mining tycoon, whose reach extents further than our small town, means using more cunning than gunslinging (though there's some of that too, to satisf...more
Lorin Cary
Steve Darcy has sold his shop in New York City and heads off to explore the wild west. It is 1879, three years after Custer's defeat at the Little Big Horn. Darcy ends up in Pickhandle, Nevada, a silver boom town. Two mine owners, one good, one dastardly, dominate. The bad owner's thugs confront Darcy and urge him to leave town. He seems to fold beneath their crude bullying, but when the good mine owner is about to be killed by the thugs Super Steve emerges. I somehow knew that would happen. Bes...more
The Shopkeeper is the first in a series of Westerns featuring an interesting character named Steve Dancy. This book provides some back story to explain how he came from New York to Nevada, and sets up a confrontation between Dancy and a bad guy named Sean Washburn.

As a fan of the Western genre, I thought this story lacked grit and landscape. Sure, there were some bad guys, lots of travel back and forth between cities in Nevada, some typical Western elements of gun slingers, gun fights, whores,...more
Martin Whatwouldthefoundersthink
I've read all the Louis Lamour westerns (and his other stuff too) multiple times, but really haven't read too many other westerns other than a couple by Loren Estelman.

Best's Shopkeeper is a little less genteel than Louis Lamour's normal fare - other than perhaps Sacket, where Ange gets killed by bad guys. Most of Lamour's stuff tends to be pretty tame, in that the good guy never lets anything bad happen to a damsel in distress if he can help it. Dancy makes an interesting choice which gives som...more
Richard Philbrick
The last good western novel I read was Lonesome Dove. Westerns simply aren't the genre I generally choose, but this was a free book (for a couple of days) at Kindle so I bought it. Nice thing about picking up free Kindle books is if they don't grab you within the first chapter or two you can dump them and feel no guilt.

The Shopkeeper certainly isn't in the same class as Lonesome Dove, but it was, nevertheless, an interesting read. In 1879, Steve Dancy sells his New York shop and ventures west to...more
Jack Rochester
I read widely and deeply, but it's been a while since I read a western - the last were "Riders of the Purple Sage" by Zane Grey and "All the Pretty Horses" by Cormac McCarthy. Admittedly, McCarthy is the more intellectual and artistic, and Gray is nuts-and-bolts. James Best's "The Shopkeeper" falls between the two. I really enjoyed the work and felt Best created a believable West of 1879, although it was short on exterior description. That was more than compensated by the great characterizations...more
I don't generally read westerns, but I've picked up a couple of Best's Steve Dancy books on Amazon. Discovering an author as good as Best is one of the things I like most about having a Kindle. I don't recall ever seeing his books at a brick/mortar bookstore.

Best doesn't create an epic like Lonesome Dove. He has more in common with Zane Grey or Max Brand. His hero, Steve Dancy, is a former gun shop owner from New York City, a very wealthy man who decides to go West and journal about his experien...more
This book grabbed me from the very beginning, enthralling me with its words describing the wild west of old. I loved the main character right away, Steve Dancy seemingly a normal shopkeeper, though at the beginning of the book we don't know from where. But then, all hell breaks loose and you see Steve for who he really is--a gunsmith, and one of great renown. You begin to see the depth and the layers of this character as the story progresses, and the book sucks you in more and more as the pages...more
Tyler Collison
The Shopkeeper is great for its character: New Yorker Steve Dancy is an educated man in the less than such Wild West. James Best does a great job exhibiting the changes that occur to Dancy's perspective on the setting throughout, though his instincts are hardly altered--something I'd say is true to human nature. One of the coolest things about The Shopkeeper is that the story is structured and revealed quite like a crime novel. That made my read exciting, but sometimes it felt as though Dancy wa...more
An entertaining quick read, even if it is another turn-the-crank, everyone-is-the-most-superlative known to man, let's-start-a-new-series book.
Fun piece of Ameticana or western depending on your point of view. Moral is not to judge a book by its cover. This shopkeeper has teeth
I haven't read much that belongs into the genre "Western" and I may not be assessing this properly. The author takes you behind the scenes of what Western life was like for women, for instance. Quite dramatic and shocking.
I am intrigued by the style, the use of words no longer used in modern days, and expletives used then and now. The history of the Wild West is probably quite accurate, and I find the interweaving of certain aspects of it directly into the story line very well done.
Will keep Jam...more
This was one of the books that I found on my Kindle and had no clue what it was on about. Being curious, naturally I read it. It was "OK." Not good and not bad. It is a western set in Nevada in the late 1870s. Instead of the little guy defeating the big guy, it was the rich eastern guy defeating the big guy. Money combined with wits is the way to win. At one point in the story it was gritty, at other points it was a cliché. Mostly I was insulted that it was somehow necessary to explain to me jus...more
Frank R
I almost didn't buy this book because it was endorsed by Glenn Beck. However, with all of the good reviews and wanting to read my first western, I took the plunge. I'm glad I did. This, and the two other Steve Dancy tales (Leadville, and Murder at Thumb Butte) were quick, enjoyable reads. It took me bit to get into the writing style - very simple, matter of fact - but then got into it. If your looking for the literary version of the series Deadwood, this isn't it. Overall review is very good if...more
Jan 19, 2012 Straker rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Western genre
Interesting characters and a decent plot, although Steve's seemingly endless supply of money made everything he did seem a bit too easy. Almost everyone comes off as too well-spoken, especially Jenny Bolton, who's described as an illiterate teenager but who speaks like she graduated from an Eastern finishing school. The author also used some words in dialogue ("mystique," "traumatic")which struck me as inauthentic to the period. Quick & easy read though, and OK for what it is. It's the first...more
Michael Matson
Hey, I like westerns. This one appealed to me.
This whole series was very good
This is an old-fashioned western in a way that goes back to the western’s roots. For the closest comparison, I’d offer Francis Lynde’s first novel, The Grafters, which was published in 1905. Both novels tell of a newcomer to the West who gets involved in a political intrigue, where influence is bought and sold, and greed rules the workings of government. . .

Read my review and an interview with the author at my blog.
Lynn Demsky
This was a most interesting, entertaining, fast-paced read!

Normally I don't read and/or care for Westerns but the name of the city: Pickhandle Gulch just intrigued me to no ends and I had to read it! I also enjoyed how the "good guys" got together and played whist! (I guess that might be a form of pinochle!?) I will hunt down more of this series and hope there's a lot more whist days for the people of Pickhandle Gulch!
Whaddayaknow--a self-published Western that was clever, well-written, and actually had an editor! :-) This was written in the older style of the puzzle-mystery (though the story isn't a mystery--more of a cat-and-mouse), where the plot is everything and the characters are only developed so far as they need to be to move the plot along. That said, I liked the puzzle and enjoyed the plot. Well done, Mr. Best.
I loved, repeat: loved this book.

There was a short section that appeared to drag (20-30 pages), but when it picked up, I couldn't put it down.

It's another Western with more modern sensibilities (Appaloosa is another). The result is that the men have more emotional depth, as do the women. The plot line is fairly standard, but the relationships are more complex, and the characters more engaging.
It was a good book, and I couldn't wait to get back to it when I'd put it down. That said, by the end Dancy did enough things that annoyed me that I won't be reading the sequels. If they were just about the other characters and left Dancy out I'd be all over them, but I don't think I could take much more of him -- at least, not as a main character.
Jack Sakalauskas
First time I've read a western in a long while. First of all he made the right choice for a cover. It is not ofter one sees a black and white photo, but it is appropriate for 1879. It's the white hats against the black hats, where men are men and in this case, so are the women, at least two of them. I enjoyed the book.
This was a fast-paced Western. (By 'fast-paced' I mean I read it in one sitting because I didn't want to put it down.) There were a couple small plot twists that seemed inconsistent with the tone, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking to purchase the next two in the series.
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James D. Best is the author of The Shopkeeper, Leadville, Murder at Thumb Butte, The Return, Tempest at Dawn, Principled Action, The Shut Mouth Society, and The Digital Organization. James has written monthly columns for two magazine and numerous journal articles. He has also ghost written two books and contributed to others.

You can learn more about James and his books at http://jamesdbest.blogspo...more
More about James D. Best...
The Shut Mouth Society Tempest at Dawn Leadville Murder at Thumb Butte The Return (Steve Dancy Tales, #4)

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