Shanahan’s Feud is an inoffensive piece of genre filler that I picked up for free from the recycling center.
In that I did not pay for this book, I got my money’s worth. If it appears that I am damning this book with faint praise, well, that is precisely the case. Western Fiction is one of those genre’s that I have cherry picked, reading those novels that rise above the genre, like the works of Larry McMurtry or Greg Matthews. (Indeed, McMurtry is one of my five favorite authors.) This book, and Zane Grey’s The Border Legion, which I will be reviewing shortly, seem to illustrate the wisdom of this approach.
Which is not to say that this is a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. I enjoyed it well enough. But not so much that I have a desire to go out and immerse myself in the Western Genre the way I have embrace the Hard-boiled Detective Genre.
It is perhaps indicative of my ignorance of the genre that I am uncertain if Shanahan’s Feud is unique in avoiding the cowboys and indians clichés that we tend to associate with the Western’s heyday. While Cody’s depiction of Native American’s is hardly nuanced, the villains in this book are land speculators, gaming the Department of Interior to steal tribal lands. Confrontation ensues and all is resolved in the final act.
I guess it’s a good thing that I’m not recommending this book as you’d never be able to track downa copy of it anyway. Though I haven’t recycled my copy yet so if you are a fan of the genre and find yourself intrigued by my gripping account of the narrative arc in all its platonic glory, hit me up.