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Lockhart’s Nightmare by Wayne Banton and Stan Williams Smoothie review
Overall rating: A Charming Western Fantasy about Two Lovers on the Run
This book was an unusual find. I found this at a yard sale during the summer out of the largest collection of odd books that ranged from mermaid love stories to alien mummies to pirates in love. I mean I’ve seen many love stories at yard sale with the pretty girls and then the half naked (or entirely naked) perfect men holding them. Yet this woman clearly likes the weirder versions of those. But I did find one that caught my eye. It was a western, called “Lockhart’s Nightmare” written by Wayne Banto and Stan Williams, and it was western about man and woman on the run. As I looked at it, I realized I never really had read a western before. The closest thing I ever read to it would be Stephen King’s Gunslinger, and I don’t believe that counts.
So before reaching the book that’s labeled western, I think True Grit, Unforgiven or Open Range. The dark gritty world of the old west, yet when I open the book and started reading, that is not what I got. In fact the whole book is very light hearted.
The book starts with Lockhart playing a game of poker with three friends. They’re all sales men, who sale and deliver various things across the country by train. Lockhart is delivering banknotes. They were traveling in a train car with a few other people. But just as Lockhart was about to lay down his hand, a marshal pulls him out of the chair and arrests him. He says he’s under the arrest for killing his clients. He says that the people in the rest of the cart must come with him for questioning. But a woman sitting in the back of the cart tries to run away. She quickly is arrested as well believed to be Lockhart’s accomplish in murder. The two are locked away for a night and then are delivered to be hanged the next morning. They have to work together to escape.
Once on the run the two them must manage to get along with each other to clear their names. The woman, Marion Taylor is an actress, liar and somewhat a con artist. James Lockhart is an ex civil war veteran who has a past that haunts him, so he went into a simple safe life of selling things afterwards. Together as they run from the Marshall Henson, they run into bad guys, meet up with a Chinese mafia, travel in air balloons, and they fall in love. Which considering the selection I pulled the book from, I wasn’t too surprised by that last factor.
So what’s the good? Well once you get passed the mediocre take off, it turns into a kind of sweet and charming Bonnie and Clyde tale. I really liked that aspect of it. Also, it went to so many different places that I didn’t expect it to go. I mean when they went to the badlands, I felt like I was reading another book, and the same goes for the fight on the air ship. Just as you feel it begins to drag the book offers something new. And it is very character driven. It is written in way that you actually learn to love and care for these characters.
The Bad? Well the detail. There really is not an ounce of it. They seemed to only add detail in the Little China piece. But the old western 1863? I don’t know what that even looks like. I’m only assuming from what I saw in old westerns movies. Then there’s a part where they go to Ohio. I just can’t picture it in my mind at all. Is that more industrialized? Or rural family communities? I mean, I don’t need a lot. But I need something to help. Because I’m not a knowledgeable at all what the nation was like at that time. That and I felt the ending was a bit rushed. They tied it up in the last couple chapters through lucky breaks as it took them forever to understand anything about who framed them.
But overall, it’s worth the read. It’s not so much the Unforgiven dark, gritty, truth about the old west, but more of charming western fantasy about two lovers on the run that went to surprising places. So despite the lack of detail and drawbacks, I recommend to any one just looking for short fun quick read.
3 smoothies out of four
P.S. Check out my book and ebook website Lelue’s Realm. Google it or go directly to http://lelue.webs.com/