Across The Cheyenne River
by John D. Nesbitt
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432828103
Date: 21 May 2014 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
John Nesbitt has created an iconic Western tale in Across the Cheyenne River. When cowhand Rush Archer finds his boss Lidge Mercer dead, he tells the sheriff his suspicions, but the sheriff isn't convinced about the murderer's motive or identity. Soon Archer finds himself in the sights of a gunman. To survive, he needs to find the murderer quickly.
Set in 1890s Wyoming, Nesbitt details the life of working ranch hands and itinerant cowboys. He includes a few stereotypes such as a crusty cook a bit too fond of the bottle and an easy-come-easy-go cowboy. The isolation and loneliness of Wyoming winters also are detailed.
Several twenty-year old secrets guarded by various people hold clues to the motive. However, teasing them out and piecing them together provides plenty of challenge for the likable hero. Much of the story is low-key.
The novel begins slowly and progresses at a leisurely pace until close to the end where the climax involves a shoot out and unexpected heroism. The story offers a number of complications and two romances.
At times, the author provides too much detail. Few mystery readers are likely to care about intricacies of horse harnesses. Flat prose drains emotion from the narrative, while the hero is almost too good to be true.
Nesbitt is a Spur Award winner and has also won other writing honors. He teaches at Eastern Wyoming College and knows the county well. He has published some thirty books and various short stories. Overall, those interested in Westerns will enjoy the story.