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The Haunted Mesa

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  5,421 ratings  ·  321 reviews
The Navajo called them the Anasazi, the “ancient enemy,” and their abandoned cities haunt the canyons and plateaus of the Southwest. For centuries the sudden disappearance of these people baffled historians. Summoned to a dark desert plateau by a desperate letter from an old friend, renowned investigator Mike Raglan is drawn into a world of mystery, violence, and explosive ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 426 pages
Published April 1st 1988 by Bantam (first published 1987)
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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtryTrue Grit by Charles PortisBlood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthyAll the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthyBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
Best Westerns
995 books — 1,196 voters
Beloved by Toni MorrisonWatchmen by Alan MooreThe Drawing of the Three by Stephen KingMort by Terry PratchettMisery by Stephen King
Best Books of 1987
295 books — 134 voters

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3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,421 ratings  ·  321 reviews

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Wayne Barrett

What the hell was that?
Okay, I have to take some of the blame. I was in the mood for an action packed, western, shoot-em up bang novel, so I went to what I thought was a sure thing in Louis L'Amour. My mistake was that I only took the time to browse the titles and make sure I didn't grab one I had already read. I did not read the intro... big mistake.

Nope, this book was not a shoot-em up bang... at least not in the old western gunslinger sense. Instead, I'll give you an idea of what I found: bi
Apr 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I thought that Louis L'Amour was a hack author - just turning out 'formula' Westerns, but when I read this book, I found that he is a very good author and very engaging. I have read many more of his novels and enjoyed them.
Henry Avila
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: yes
Recommended to Henry by: nobody
Mike Raglan a well known investigator and writer,gets a strange message from a friend.An eccentric rich scientist,(aren't they all?)who needs help quickly. So he arrives in the southwest, four corners area(Utah,Colorado,Arizona,New Mexico)and no friend!Weird rumors abound that the Anasazi, ancient cliff dwellers have been seen.Ghosts?Real,Who knows!Raglan decides to visit the scientist unfinshed house.Oh,its located on top of a haunted mesa,no problem he'll go alone.Unbelievably an unknown new w ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
The Haunted Mesa is a book consisting of approximately 250 pages of a man trying to decide when and how to save his friend in another world and less than 100 pages of him actually doing it. Not one of the worst books I've ever read, but one that is disappointingly mediocre. Especially given the fact that I had read it as a child and had fond memories of it. I have read all of Louis L'amour's books, every single one of them between 4th and 6th grade and he was my all time favorite author during t ...more
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Explaining what happened to the Anasazi is an interesting concept and adding the fantastical elements made it more interesting still. Unfortunately the book itself wasn’t very interesting. It started out mysterious and kind of spooky but then it settled into a rut. Mike Raglan goes to save a friend from some unknown danger and he has to think about it a lot. You hear him go over the few facts he has in his head and then he explains these facts to someone else and then he goes over them in his he ...more
Angus McKeogh
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
So this book was mentioned in another book as being “a document of evidence” about the existence of alternate universes. I also glanced upon another review on GoodReads and I think what the book was about was stated very clearly in that review’s first sentence. “What the hell did I just read?”. I was left with the same impression. This book was one of L’Amour’s bestsellers, but my guess is that was related more to curiosity rather than to it being a great read. There was an opening mystery and a ...more
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I thought this would be a western book so I didn't pick it up for awhile, then took it on vacation to Bandelier in New Mexico. Could not have picked a better book for this vacation. It is a good read about portals between worlds and the Anasazi indians who guard them.
Mar 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
To be honest, I felt like this book was just a hot mess. The short version of why I hated it: The narration was so awkward and circular and repetitive that I often had no idea where we were going with this, and nothing really happened in the first 300 pages. I couldn't figure out if the author was trying to squeeze in worldbuilding as a replacement for plot or what, but there wasn't even much of that. Basically the whole first three fourths of the book was protagonist Mike trying to decide wheth ...more
Lessil Richards
Dec 19, 2012 rated it liked it
How can I diss such a great author as Louis L'Amour? I really went back and forth between a 2 star rating and a 4 star rating, so settled with 3 stars. I loved the story. He is a master in telling a great and interesting tale, and it is rich with history, so how can someone that has over 120 books and over 300 million books in print be so careless about details especially in the first 300 pages? The last 100 pages were thrilling. I don't want to give anything away, however the first 3/4's of the ...more
Gregory Daily
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I actually read this several years ago. I had read several stories of Louis L'Amour and expected this to be a Western. But this is quite different, even though it takes place in the West in Navajo country. It gives a speculative interpretation of ancient myths of ancient ones that came out of the earth. It turns out that there is really a portal between two worlds, and that the myths were not really wild tales.
I know that there are plenty of science fiction stories about dimensional gates, but L
A good idea with total mediocre execution. The prime example of a 'it's okay' book. A perfect fit for the two star rank.

Mike Raglan is a myth debunk-er - a profession he stumbled up on in his youth when outing a sham magician. Called on all over the world, he travels and investigates the magical, supernatural, and otherworldly - and while he's not a cynic and seeks these things in part because he too wants to believe, he's skeptical and therefore able to dig out the facts.

For this reason, when h
Jan 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
Quick! Gut reaction: Okay, this is all just too weird.

Short Summation

Mike Raglan’s friend, Erik, is missing. Now, Mike’s made his living with weird stuff, so when someone delivers Erik’s journal to him and it looks like Erik’s disappeared into a parallel world, he’s more apt to believe in the possibly than most.

Lots of history on the Navajo, Hopi and what the Navajo called the Anasazi. If you’re not familiar, those’re the people who said they came to this world from another one, where a great ev
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did enjoy this novel, but it took forever to read. L'amore spends the bulk of the novel as the main character thinking about and questioning what he needs to do in order to save his friend. There were times I felt like I was re-reading pages over and over and over again. "What's there? How will I make it? This is dangerous. I should just leave." For pages and ages. By the end, I was just ready to be done with the whole story.
Apr 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
I've always been fascinated by the Anasazi people, those who inhabited the now American Southwest, and lived in cliff dwellings. Every chance I get while vacationing in those areas, I make sure to visit the National Park sites that host cliff dwellings, and try to learn what I can about them. I find myself wondering and speculating about what life might have been like for them, their families, work lives, activities, and so forth. Their relatively sudden disappearances from the places where they ...more
Ray Foy
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Mike Ragland is the hero and sole point-of-view of Louis L'Amour's "science fiction" novel, The Haunted Mesa. When Mike receives a letter from a friend, Erik Hokart, asking him to meet him in the New Mexico desert where he's building a house on a mesa, Mike answers the call, spurred by the letter's sense of urgency. He makes the rendezvous but Erik does not. Erik is missing, but he has left Mike a record of events that led up to his disappearance in the form of a "daybook" journal delivered to h ...more
Audrey Hacker
The idea of the story was good but the dialogue, I swear, was so staccato LIKE , not only did the people from the other world speak like that but so did people from our earth??? THE DIALOGUE WAS SO AWKWARD
Sean Cozart
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have a lot to say about this book because it appears to be not well liked among the fans. This novel is a perfect example of great writing, that an author can be successful in multiple genres. And this book especially is one of many reasons why I believe Louis L'Amour is one of the best authors of all time.

In a normal sense, this isn't the classic western outlaw, gun-slinging L'Amour type of writing we are use to. However, I see the protagonist of this story, Mike Raglan, as a modern cowboy. H
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I’d never read a Louis L’Amour book before, but this one seemed non-standard - and it was. Good, engaging, and clever.
Elisha Condie
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
What the ?! I have never read a Louis L'Amour book in my LIFE but this one was sitting on the shelf at the Manti house (Manti house: pioneer era home, in a small town called Manti, been in my family for generations). So I picked it up, it seemed like just the thing to read in an old pioneer town.

But it felt like reading a Scooby Doo episode. Mike Raglan, an Indiana Jones type researcher, adventurer, seen-it-all type goes down to the desert to help his old rich reclusive scientist pal after hi
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Like so many others, I found this book too slow and repetitive. The hero is constantly mulling over the situation in his head, summarising the information the reader already knows.

Much of this is done in form of rhetorical questions as he contemplates the existence of a parallel world: What will be be like? What do I know? What do they know? Should I go? Will it be dangerous?

It gets irritating after a while.

Also repeated are several philosophical passages about the tendency of mankind to fear
Sandy Weir
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I do not know exactly when this book arrived on my stack to read, but it certainly captivated me with suspense immediately. And it was a book you really should start on Friday night! Reason being that you can hopefully sleep in late after not being able to put it down all night! I had drifted through other L'Amour books and enjoyed them mildly. This one seemed to be unique.
Finding the "Popol Vuh" as a source for some of the information recalled my reading that work as a student in a high school
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that I absolutely love.

It's classic L'Amour. Beautiful scenery and a suspenseful story that takes your breath away.

However, there's a twist to the usual L'Amour equation of greatness.

And that twist is the thing I love about this book.

Because as crazy as it is, it's L'Amour writing it and you know to trust him. He is that grandfather-storyteller we all have had who can tell us the wildest story but make it believable. It's a fish tale in the middle of the desert.

So read it...

Jan 20, 2012 rated it liked it
This sci-fi book by Louis L'Amour could have been so much more.

Yes, that's right. Louis L'Amour, author of more than 100 westerns wrote a sci-fi book. It is set in familiar territory for him, the American Southwest and it concerns the disappearance of the Anasazi Indians more than 600 years ago. If you are unfamiliar with the Anasazi, they are the builders of the adobe brick cliff dwellings that are scattered across the Southwestern desert. Their most famous site is at Mesa Verde National Monume
Linda Rowland
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this so much more than I expected to. Knocked off a star for doing one of the things that annoys the hell out of me.
If you have a dog (or a child) it is always there. Television does this very often. Someone has a child and for much of what you see the child is nowhere to be seen. Someone has a dog and they just go off for more than a day, and the dog seems not to exist. It does not have to be fed...or walked.
I kept asking myself "where is chief?". Maybe this is just me, but a dog or
Oct 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My grandma loves Louis L'Amour books, so whenever I run across one, I pick it up for her. The cover of this one got me interested, here's a book that looks sci-fi, so I decided to read it before passing along. What a great story, and I'm glad to have read it. It reminds me of S.M. Stirling, minus all the long paragraphs of history (which is ok every once in a while, but gets dull after so long).

I'm definetly interested in his other work now, which I know will not be sci-fi'ish, but great storie
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
An interesting concept and story, and quite different from L'Amour's typical books. The first 70% of this book, however, could have been told in five sentences.

1) There's another world that we know nothing about.

2) I'm afraid of it because it's different and possibly evil.

3) My friend has disappeared into it.

4) I'm scared, but I'm the person that he asked for help, and I'm the most qualified to do so.

5) I'm going to help him.

The last 30% of the book took off nicely though.
Aug 14, 2007 rated it did not like it
Not very good. Actually, pretty weird. And at the end I kind of felt like I'd wasted a lot of my time in reading it. Seemed kind of pointless.

Anyways, this person finds a kind of time portal in and old cliff dweller sacred building and uses it to pass back through time several times to meet a woman and her tribe and fight to escape from the people who are attacking them.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a Louis L'Amour story that really made an impression on me. The whole book is wrapped in an air of mystery and suspense. The book follows Mike as he tries to find out what happened to his scientist friend Erik who has gone missing. It delves into an area of myth and legend that surrounds the ancient Anasazi cliff dwellers.
Philana Walker
Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uncomplicated
This is the only Louis L'Amour book I have ever read. I loved the combination of native american lore and sci-fi elements. I first read this in high school-my dad had it, then I bought it and read it again.
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Louis L'Amour was an American author. L'Amour's books, primarily Western fiction, remain enormously popular, and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death all 101 of his works were in print (86 novels, 14 short-story collections and one full-length work of nonfiction) and he was considered "one of the world's most popular writers".
“Knowledge was not meant to be locked behind doors. It breathes best in the open air where all men can inhale its essence.” 30 likes
“There are shadows for the shadows of things, as a reflection seen in a mirror of a mirror. We know there are circles within circles and dimensions beyond dimension. Reality is itself a shadow, only an appearance accepted by those whose eyes shun what might lie beyond.” 14 likes
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