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The Shopkeeper

(Steve Dancy Tales #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,313 ratings  ·  136 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
Paperback, 242 pages
Published December 15th 2007 by Wheatmark (first published November 21st 2007)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,313 ratings  ·  136 reviews

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Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: westerns
James Best's The Shopkeeper was weak historical fiction. He lacked the ear for the language of 1879, including vocabulary that was jarringly inappropriate. When his main character, Steve Dancy, described the bodyguards alongside the villain as two dreadnoughts escorting a cargo ship, Mr. Best's credibility as a historical novelist sank with all hands.
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Steve Dancy is not your usual good guy cowboy outfoxing and outgunning bad guys while getting the girl in the end. He is instead, a 30 year old ex shopkeeper from New York City looking to explore the west, still a dangerous place in 1879. Everything is going well for Steve in the silver mining town of Pickhandle Gulch until he gets bullied by two enforcers of Nevada's largest robber baron, Sean Washburn. Instead of minding his business and keeping a low profile, Steve decides on instinct, to sho ...more
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I came across The Shopkeeper on Freebooksy, and read the Kindle version free. I have really been in the mood for a good western, but guess that I'll have to keep looking. Sorry Mr. Best, while the premise may be plausible for some, I found much of it a stretch and a lot of it just down right silly. A millionaire (very wealthy anyway), Shakespeare quoting, Mark Twain reading, gunsmith/high powered businessman from New York, exploring the west, seeking out adventure and wrongs to right, while coll ...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
Aug 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
I'm a little surprised at all of the glowing reviews for this one and would wonder if people were bribed to review it so glowingly. This book read as very amateurish to me, and all of the comparisons to Louis L'Amour are an insult to Mr. L'Amour. If Lonesome Dove is the greatest Western ever written, this is a distant last place.

I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Monica Hatfield
Aug 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

4 1/2 stars. New to this author. Nice writing and kept interest high. Looking forward to next book in series.
Thom Swennes
Jun 11, 2016 rated it liked it
The town of Pickhandle Gulch, Nevada was practically a bustling metropolis in 1879. Nestled between the Silver Peak Range and the Excelsior Mountains, silver mines were springing up like weeds one the desolate landscape. Like the cattle towns lower in the valleys, Pickhandle Gulch has its share of violence, making it almost a daily fare. Thirty-one-year-old Steve Dancy has recently sold his store in New York and headed west. This high mountain settlement is just one stop on his westward trek. He ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Most western novels suffer from a formula type writing. The Shopkeeper avoids most of those cliches as the hero seeks to beat his enemies in a battle of wits, putting pressure on them using political powers, financial powers, etc. And, even so, our hero, Steve Dancy, is not above pulling out his pistol and demonstrating that despite being an Eastern dude, he knows all about weapons and how to use them. This novel is chocked full of humor, deliciously wild dialogue, clever thinking and planning, ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it liked it
This story is definitely a good read for almost any fiction reader. I think the characters were interesting and the story moved along at a good pace. If you're a fan of westerns it may appeal even that much more but it isn't necessary.

Steve Dancy moves to Pickhandle Gulch from NY. You'd think things would be boring out west compared to New York, but this book proves that life can get interesting wherever you choose to hang your hat. Dancy's time in Pickhandle Gulch seems to start fairly innocuou
Bob Ely
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, kept the reader wanting to go on until you saw what the next thing that would happen. I did not realize when I downloaded this book, that I had read one of his others. Totally different era and I thought a good western sounded good. I was not disappointed. Living near Carson City, I was able to identify with some of the places the hero was going, although, not the main town. That always makes the book more enjoyable. The hero gets mixed up with some bad actors and how he deals with th ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: westerns
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.
Nov 20, 2009 rated it liked it
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?
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked it! I enjoyed the smart protagonist and his way of thinking things through before acting, and the friendships he develops with similar-minded people. It was nice reading about someone who, while he demonstrably has the capacity for deep feelings, doesn't allow them to trip him into idiotic and emotionally-charged mistakes.

I liked the plot too, how things seem to evolve and escalate in a natural fashion up to the big showdown in the end.
David J. Stanford
Jul 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Western with pizzazz

I quit reading western in my teens. I have been missing something If this is typical of the genre today. This book holds your interest and keeps you guessing as what's going to happen next. No glaring typos, well written a pleasure to read.
Rohit Kilpadi
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Different kind of western. Very entertaining and a good read. Interesting characters.
Definitely want to read more books written by James D. Best
Jeff Benham
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not your normal Greenhorn Goes West story. Steve Dancy might be new to the west but he brings with him special skills and savvy. Good guy needs to figure out how to defeat bad guy who is hiring his killing done. He he goes about it makes for an interesting story.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I can't remember the last time I read a western, but this was pretty good. Gunslingers, outlaws, Pinkertons, and sassy chambermaids. Okay!
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: western
Jim Shaver
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I started this book and had my doubts. It didn't take long for me to get hooked
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not my usual genre however found it well written, fast moving and I would read more by this author.
Joe Stack
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I found this book to be an engaging, light, fast paced enjoyable story, one that kept me going as I didn't want to put it down. The historical aspect to the story was it's setting in Nevada during the state's mining boom, but the story itself - a contest of wills between two wealthy men - could have been set in any time period. I was a bit disappointed that the villain was barely in story. Contempt for this character had to come from the reader's association with the main character. Nonetheless, ...more
Thomas Garmany
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply amazing

I have my favorite authors and I am nothing if not loyal. This author has just made the list. Not an easy task. I admit to starting many more books than I’ll ever finish. The bar is high and I am most critical when comparing a new body of work to my personal library favorites in every genre.
Maria Loeber
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well... I didn't expect that haha.. I'm not used to reading westerns... I move more on the romantic and fantasy side of reading.. but these book was a pleasent surprise. It captured my attention and I really got to like the characters, the schemes and the outcomes. It's a quick read with a story to enjoy.
Richard Harral
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A different approach

The first book I have read written by this author. He constructed a different plot with likable characters. I will read more of the Steve Dancy series. I like western novels as they are not so politically correct and don’t have to have all the modern buss of unmarried sex, wine, and four letter words.
Diane Landreth
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
good western read lots of twists and suprises i enjoyed this book very much
James Watts
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Good read enjoyed the book very much. Learned a little about the old West,mining, gunsmithing and big business.. Love struck men do dumb things.
Dave Webber
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book

I enjoyed the character development, the plot twists, and the overall story. Plenty of surprises and action to keep the interest gong through out the entire book.
Mike Brannick
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Goos book. Several uexpected twists and turns. A ;little different kind of Western.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great Western! New York greenhorn learning about western life and conflict while applying eastern backroom political tactics and gunplay to solving problems encountered along the trail.
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James Best is the author of the bestselling Steve Dancy Tales: The Shopkeeper, Leadville, Murder at Thumb Butte, The Return, Jenny's Revenge, and Crossing the Animas. His other novels include Tempest at Dawn, The Shut Mouth Society, and Deluge. Principled Action and The Digital Organization are his nonfiction books. James has ghost written three books, authored two regular magazine columns, and pu ...more

Other books in the series

Steve Dancy Tales (6 books)
  • Leadville (Steve Dancy Tales, #2)
  • Murder at Thumb Butte (Steve Dancy Tales #3)
  • The Return (Steve Dancy Tales, #4)
  • Jenny's Revenge (A Steve Dancy Tale Book 5)
  • Crossing the Animas (Steve Dancy Tales Book 6)