Friday, May 13, 2011

Lou Prophet- Jonah Hex meets Maverick

With 10 books written and still going strong, Peter Brandvold’s Lou Prophet: Bounty Hunter series is easily one of the favorite ongoing series in any genre.  The books have been well written from the start, but somewhere around the fourth book the series found its voice and took off with a shot.  Action packed with a lot of funny and a little touching (of both the romantic and randy kinds) the series gets better with every book.

Lou Prophet is an interesting twist on the traditional western bounty hunter. He is not a steely eyed killer or do-gooder. He mostly does his job to support his sins. After the Civil War, Prophet made a deal with the Devil (at least in his mind) that as long as he could spend the rest of his days in this life whooping it up enough to forget the war, he'd gladly spend his next life shoveling coal in Perdition. As the series has progressed, Brandvold has started sticking his toes over the line into the world of the "adult western", but his writing is so good that it just feels a part of Prophet's visceral now as he tries to forget his past.

In Prophet's world, towns are a place where you collect your bounty, find a saloon, and spin the world into a haze of vice until you run out of coin. Then it's back on the owlhoot trail, with saddle sores, coyotes, and freedom from the maddening crowd; at least until whiskey and jerky run out. Think Jonah Hex without the psychosis, or Maverick without the snobbery, class, and a bit less conscience. It is a pleasantly simple world, which is accessible to the reader, a joy to move around in for the duration of the read, but with enough realism that we don't want to trade places with Prophet.

This image by Carles DeMiguel doesn't actually appear in and Lou Prophet novels, but it easily could

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