All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

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Happy reading!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Leadville, by James Best

Leadville, by James Best, is the second in the Steve Dancy series of Western novels in the grand tradition of Wild West storytellers. Leadville reunites Dancy, the former shopkeeper who ventured West to write a novel about his experiences, with Captain McAllen of Pinkerton fame, Jeff Sharp, owner of silver mines, and Dr. Dooley, who was going out West to take a job at a “consumption clinic.” Sharp and McAllen had helped Dancy survive a visit to Pickhandle Gulch, detailed in Best’s first Dancy novel, The Shopkeeper.

In Leadville, McAllen’s high-spirited daughter is kidnapped. Although a posse is assembled to find her and mete out Western justice, something doesn’t seem right. Dancy, along with McAllen and Sharp decide to make their own trek to rescue the missing girl. They uncover a scheme to defraud the town, and contrive to win the girl’s safety in an ingenious plot that is the undoing of the bad elements in the town. In the process, Dancy ends up a shopkeeper again but not before encountering a villain from his past and parts with the intriguing widow he met in the first installment of the series. Never fear, another potential love interest, in the form of his willful and attractive shop manager, may find her way into future installments.

Best’s novels are rip-roaring good stories, with engaging plots, likeable characters, and plenty of action. Dancy is tough, intelligent, and thoughtful, and his compatriots are respectable men of integrity. The books have appeal to a broad audience, with a mix of action, adventure, and a tiny hint of a love story to make readers take interest in the full range of Best’s characters.

Leadville was published in paperback by Wheatmark in 2009. It’s not necessary to read the first “Steve Dancy Tale,” The Shopkeeper, before reading Leadville, but it will give readers a bit of background. The third in the series is Murder at Thumb Butte, which was published in paperback in September, 2011.

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