Saturday, March 6, 2010

Review: Streets of Laredo by Larry McMurtry

Wow. Another winner from McMurtry! I could NOT put this book down! It opens about 15 or so years after the end of Lonesome Dove. Pea Eye and Lorena are married and have several children. Woodrow Call has given up on the ranch in Montana. The railroad has grown and expanded and is now experiencing trouble from a Mexican bandit known as Joey Garza. They hire Call to find Garza and bring him in. Call starts West with the railroad's accountant, Brookshire, and they pick up a "witless deputy," as the back of the book says, along the way. Eventually, they are joined by Pea Eye and the party tracks not only Garza, but Mox Mox, the manburner, a threat from Lorena's past. Will they stop the train robberies and murders? Can they stop Joey Garza's mother from warning him that they are coming? Will Mox Mox burn again?

I cannot stress how much I loved this book. There are still two more in the series, and for that I am glad. What really makes these books unforgettable are the characters. The bad guys in this book were just evil: Garza was a psychopath, with no love for anyone, not even his devoted mother; Mox Mox was hellacious, a man who would burn people just for fun. Truly scary characters. Of course, Call was himself, a hard-worker, self-sufficient, interested only in those who could be of some assistance to him, although he changed a bit in the course of the novel, beginning to wonder, at the end of his life, if he maybe should have let more people in. It was great to see the relationship between Pea Eye and Lorena, non-existent in the previous book, now grown into a truly loving marriage. Lorena is still full of grit, fearless, determined to keep her family together, no matter what. Even peripheral characters, like Joey Garza's mother, Maria, and her friend Billy Williams, Famous Shoes, the Indian tracker, and Call's side-men, Brookshire and Plunkert, are thoroughly drawn, so we get to know them almost as well as we knew Gus and Call in Lonesome Dove. In fact, the only thing missing in this book was Gus McCrae. :(

I give this book five out of five Whatevers. If you are hesitant to pick up this series, PLEASE do. It is simply wonderful. These were two of the best books I've read in years. I cannot wait to read the last two, Comanche Moon and Dead Man's Walk. I believe they go back in time to before Lonesome Dove and follow Gus and Call and the boys in their days as Texas Rangers. I miss Gus and can't wait to see him in action again.


Literary Feline said...

That's quite an endorsement! I haven't read Lonesome Dove but you've got me curious about that and this one.

Lexi said...

I hope you check them out! I love these books; they've been a pleasant surprise.