Publishers Weekly is the international news platform of book publishing and bookselling. Founded in 1872 and published continuously since then, their emphasis today is on book reviews. Publishers Weekly maintains a separate website, BookLife, that is dedicated to the world of self-publishing. The site is packed with reviews, profiles, and destinations for authors and readers.
On September 15, BookLife named High Plains Redemption an Editor's Pick. According to the website, "Superlative books may be selected as Editor's Picks, indicated by a lightning bolt (⚡️) next to the title. This is an unbiased indication of truly outstanding quality."
Text of BookLife's Critique of "High Plains Redemption"
The action-packed standalone second Cimarron Jack Westerns novel (after 2018’s Cimarron’s Law) is an appealing window into a world of cowboys, liars, and tough-as-nails women. Bronco rider Quint Woodall, taking the train home to nurse a back injury, he meets Cora, a young woman from a powerful family, who asks for help escaping Julius, her abusive fiancé-to-be. Despite Julius’s attempts to steal her back, Quint and Cora make it to his mother’s ranch, where their troubles only grow. As Quint faces legal trouble for helping Cora, he must also contend with Hew, a violent ranch hand with a powerful hold over Quint’s mother.
Hutchinson strives for historical accuracy in his setting and language but modernizes his characters’ politics. Though the narrative focuses on a damsel in distress, Cora is a fully fleshed-out and profound character. The chapters switch perspectives, so Cora never feels like an afterthought in her own story; she and Quint have fully separate reactions to (and feelings about) specific situations. Hutchinson hits on the important hallmarks of a traditional western, setting Quint and Cora firmly in a world of clear rights and wrongs, but he still manages to imbue the narrative with appealing sensitivity.
There are a few extraneous characters and side plots. One, involving Cora’s father and Julius abusing railroad workers, feels particularly sadistic and out of place, especially since it never factors into the end of the story. However, for the most part the narrative is lean, fast-moving, and well-structured. Though the bulk of the action takes place in a courthouse, the dialogue and setting feel distinctly western and the tension is as high as in a shootout. Hutchinson brings the western up to date without losing any of the genre’s historical charm in a gripping story with broad appeal.
Takeaway: This historical western with a thoughtful modern sensibility will enthrall both longtime genre fans and new readers.
Great for fans of Zane Grey’s The Lone Star Ranger, Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove Series.
Production grades Cover: B+ Design and typography: A Illustrations: - Editing: A- Marketing copy: A-