David's Reviews > A Spider for Loco Shoat

A Spider for Loco Shoat by Douglas C. Jones
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's review
Jun 14, 2012

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Read in June, 2012

This is another fine "late-era" western (set in 1907 in Ft. Smith).. The hanging judge is gone and Oscar Shiller sits around thinking about the old days. A grotesque murder calls him out of retirement however, as he manages to obtain a marshall's commission and starts nosing about.

The period flavor of this novel is about as full of flavor as the Lemon Meringue pies described therein. The reader is treated to a lot of neat details about clothing, new technology and its effect on the people, and life in a turn of the century frontier town.

Even the mystery provided is pretty good, though I felt that the identity of one of the villains was pretty obvious from early on and it turned out I was right. Either I'm getting better at spotting the bad guys or writers have began to write more simplistic murder mysteries.

This novel moves rather slowly, but I think the pacing was pretty close to spot on for this novel. The old marshall, who was moving a bit slower, and the dialogues and descriptions all created a nice bouquet for the reader. The challenge was not losing sight of the mystery.

Oh, and the title plays an important part in the book, even though we don't meet Loco Shoat and his spider until nearly the end of the book. While the character's name is Loco-- and IS crazy-- the name is short for Locomotive. Yup, the names in this book provide period details that mate well with the story, descriptions, etc.


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