By Many Books
Death of Innocence
This fictionalized account of the author’s ancestors takes readers on a historical adventure through nineteenth-century America.
In Richard Greene’s Death Of Innocence, the author follows lightly fictionalized accounts of his ancestors’ lives, moving through different cities and different times. Their emotional and private lives have been embellished, of course, but their major life events are family history and the wider historical events are accurate.
Instead of a typical conflict-resolution arc, readers are led through the lives of the men and women who eventually became the author’s great-great-parents. As a young man without a lot of prospects, one great-grandfather worked on a riverboat and tried to prove his suitability for a beautiful young woman. Her brother, the author’s great-uncle, had an impressive career in the Confederate Army, seeing combat many times and distinguishing himself. The author’s great-great-grandfather also served in the southern military, surviving dangerous encounters, while the girl who will become his great-great-grandmother anxiously waited for news and hoped for his safe return. Themes of courage and determination recur again and again in the storylines, showing family traits in the military and in daily life. This makes for an interesting look at the past.
Strong historical research deepens the narrative, and the author has paid careful attention to the details of everyday life in a different era. The military sections are particularly well-researched, including historical battles, careful accounts of equipment and maneuvers, and fictionalized interpretations of how officers and enlisted men might have spoken to each other. Themes of courage and determination recur again and again in the storylines, showing family traits in the military and in daily life. Although the narrative moves between characters and between battles, there is a heavy sense of loss in most of the battles. As the story progresses, tension builds because readers can’t help rooting for the characters’ success and worrying about their safety, even though we know how the battles will turn out.
There’s also a compelling sense of fate throughout this book because these ancestors must manage to be smart or occasionally lucky enough to survive the war, in order to marry and have the children who ultimately led to the author’s birth. (One of the storylines focuses on a great-uncle, not a direct genetic ancestor, but that’s still part of the family story.) This gives a heightened sense of destiny and importance to the relationships between soldiers and the women they’ll later marry, especially in the first meetings or in seemingly minor decisions that ripple outwards. y connection leading up the present-day gives extra intensity to everyday moments.
Death of Innocence is an engaging family saga. The sense of destiny and family connection leading up to the present-day gives extra intensity to everyday moments.
Wade Garrison's Promise
Wade Garrison's Promise by Richard J Greene is a western novel, but one that even readers who are not normally fans of the genre will enjoy.
Wade Garrison is a young man who grew up on a farm in South Carolina, but the cheap western novels he read as a child compels him to go out and seek his own adventures. His dreams land him in eastern Colorado, where he finds employment on a ranch and becomes best friends with a man named Emmett Spears. Wade is soon faced with the harsh realities of the west when Emmet is gunned down in a saloon by four strangers. Leaving the love of his life and everything he has known behind, Wade sets out to avenge the death of his friend and bring the killers to justice.
Wade is a sympathetic protagonist and, unlike a lot of western heroes, he is not a cold-blooded killer. His mission for revenge weighs heavily on his conscience, but the further he tracks the outlaws the more atrocities he discovers in their wake. It makes for harrowing reading but leaves no doubt that unless Wade stops them they won't cease their carnage.
Wade Garrison's Promise is not just the story of Wade, even though it is told from his perspective. Along the way, he also encounters a stellar cast of supporting characters. These include two aging sheriffs as well as a U.S. Marshall. Unlike Wade, they are no strangers to the business of killing people who are a menace to society but are still shocked by the actions of the outlaws.
One of the things that makes this book so compelling to read is that it's not a thrill a minute pulp story. The act of tracking down the killers is something that takes Wade a long time and, throughout the journey, he reflects back on his past. It is through these flashbacks that readers discover how deep his friendship with Emmett was and how much Wade is sacrificing in the name of revenge. This isn't to say that the book is devoid of action either, as Wade and his posse ends up in quite a few life or death situations. The author has done a great job with the supporting cast and, after spending so much time in the saddle and around campfires with them, it's impossible not to like them. Of course, this makes the scenes where they are in mortal danger even tenser.
All things considered, Wade Garrison's Promise is a great read and has more depth than what the western genre typically has to offer. It's not just the story of a man on a journey of vengeance but also explores the toll that it takes on him both mentally and physically. The Wade Garrison towards the end of the story is not the same naive young man who promised to avenge his friend at the start. It is this character growth that ensures that Wade grows on readers and will make them want to know what it is that drives him in further books.
Manybooks Editorial Review of God's Coffin by Richard Greene Posted on 4th of February, 2021 by Heinrich Bolton.
Wade Garrison' Promise is an exceptional Western novel, so God's Coffin had pretty big boots to fill, but thankfully Richard Greene does not disappoint.
God's Coffin by Richard Greene is the second book in his Wade Garrison series and is set six years after the events of Wade Garrison's Promise. Although Wade made good on his promise of revenge for the cold-blooded murder of his friend Emmett Spears it was an act that took a big toll on him. After leaving Harper, Colorado behind to become a Deputy Marshall in Santa Fe, Wade is living a simple life with his wife Sarah and six-year-old son, Emmett. However, the past catches up with him when he is sent back to Colorado to assist his old friend, Seth Bowlen, with some trouble that is brewing in the town of Sisters. Due to its close proximity to Harper, Wade takes his wife and son along so that they can visit her family while he attends to matters. Unfortunately, the trouble that Sheriff Bowlen is dealing with turns out to be more complicated than expected and to his dismay, Wade's family becomes embroiled in the fallout.
Having to deal with murder and corruption in a small town might not sound as exciting as tracking outlaws across the country, but the story goes down quite a few unexpected paths to shake things up. Not only are the stakes higher for Wade now that he has a family to protect, but being a Deputy Marshal also means that there are rules that he has to adhere to if he wants to stay on the right side of the law. Unfortunately for Wade, the people he is up against have no qualms about playing dirty.
Although Wade Garrison's Promise is not required reading to enjoy God's Coffin, doing so is highly recommended as there are things that tie the two novels together. Wade has definitely done a lot of growing up during and after the events of the first book and in God's Coffin, he is a more calm, confident, and self-assured character. However, when his family becomes endangered there are still some flashes of the old Wade.
Like the original novel, God's Coffin is written in an easy-to-read style and features a likable protagonist as well as compelling supporting characters. The scenes with Sarah and Emmett reveals a softer side to Wade and his banter with Sheriff Bowlen is as enjoyable as ever. The villains are also more despicable in this novel as they are not on the run, but using wealth and influence to try and escape justice. Unlike the extended chase scene of the first novel, God's Coffin is set mostly in and around the towns of Sisters and Harper, but this doesn't make it any less exciting. Wade and Bowlen have their work cut out for them and the two of them don't always see eye to eye on how to get the job done either, which makes for interesting conflicts.
This novel does take a couple of unexpected and very dark turns, and while the ending is not exactly a cliffhanger, it does set Wade on a very different path. With God's Coffin Richard Greene proves that Wade Garrison wasn't a fluke and once again delivers a western novel anyone can enjoy. It offers a great blend of action, intrigue, and drama, all wrapped up in a story that is hard to put down once you've started.
Many Books Editorial Review: Wade Garrison Atonement by Richard Greene posted on the19th of April 2021 by Heinrich Bolton.
Atonement is the fittingly titled sequel to God's Coffin and follows Wade Garrison as he leaves everything behind to protect his family. Unlike the big gap in time between Wade Garrison's Promise and God's Coffin, the events in Atonement are set directly after the events of the second novel. God's Coffin introduced us to Wade Garrison as a more mature family man with a wife and child but also showed us what happens when those he loves are threatened. Wade started the previous book as a deputy Marshal and ended it as a wanted man, which means this book could go in any directions. Thankfully, Richard Greene has managed to craft another compelling adventure for Wade that shows him struggling with his past actions but trying to atone for them in his own way.
As Wade Garrison is essentially on the run it means that most of the characters featured in previous books are absent for large parts of this one. However, as much as we missed the scenes with characters like Sarah and Sheriff Bowlen, Atonement proves yet again that Greene can write compelling characters. As Wade 's journey takes him into Montana Territory he encounters a few new faces who are every bit as fascinating as the ones Wade leaves behind during his self-imposed exile. The new characters include a gunman named Morgan Hunter from west Texas who could easily star as the protagonist of his own book. However, even characters like Jed Canon are interesting enough in their own ways to keep Wade's interactions with them entertaining.
Fans of the previous books might find it disappointing that initially, it seems like Wade is running away from his problems, but the author does a good jog of explaining his motives and fears. Wade has proven himself over and over to be a fair and just man, but he is not perfect and his mistakes continue to haunt him. He does, however, try to atone for them in his own way, which thankfully makes for a thrilling read. Most of the story is set in the small town of Pickering, Montana, but Wade still finds plenty of ways to attract trouble. These include saving and adopting a coyote pup, investigating murders, and trying to figure out who is trying to kill him. The author doesn't keep readers hanging in regards to events in the pervious book and wraps things up neatly in Atonement.
Atonement also continues to showcase the authors' knack for prose that is simple yet engrossing. Even with numerous paragraphs dedicated to characters simply drinking coffee or having breakfast it never feels like the story is dragging its feet. Instead, by showing the more mundane side of characters the author keeps the story accessible while quietly fleshing out their personalities. This is also one of the reasons why Atonement, like the rest of the novels in the Wade Garrison series, is great to read even if you are not a fan of the cowboy genre in general. Overall, Atonement offers a satisfying conclusion to the events of the previous book while also introducing a slew of charismatic new characters in the process.
The Last Ride
Many Books Editorial Review: Wade Garrison The Last Ride by Richard Greene
Posted on 8th of July, 2021 by Heinrich Bolton
After his brush with death Wade Garrison has kept his promise to God and his wife never to pick up a gun again. However, when bank robbers kill his old friend Sheriff Harry Block, and everyone turns to Wade for justice, he has a difficult choice to make.
The Last Ride is set a year after the shocking events of Atonement and sees Wade living a simple life with his wife and children on his ranch. His peace is shattered when bank robbers kill the Sheriff of Harper and ride off with the town's money. Wade is torn between keeping his promise never to pick up a gun or take a life again but worries that his son will think that he is a coward if he doesn't go after the bandits. Eventually, Wade gives in and sets out on one last ride with Pup, his coyote, and the sheriff's nephew, Robert Zimmerman, in tow. Robert is eager for justice, but Wade knows better than anyone about the cost of vengeance.
Over the course of the previous three books, readers have seen Wade Garrison grow from being a naive young man to a veteran lawman. However, even with all the lives that he has had to take, Wade has never lost his humanity or compassion for others, which is one reason why he is such a compelling protagonist. The Last Ride harkens back to Wade's journey in the very first novel, Wade Garrison's Promise, as he is once again on the trail of a dangerous posse. His quest to track them down also takes him through familiar territory, which is quite nostalgic for readers who have been following Wade's adventures from the start. Thankfully, the book never feels like a rehash of the original, and it is interesting to see Wade reflect on the first novel's events.
Wade has been through a lot throughout the series and knows how to handle himself, but traveling with the inexperienced Robert Zimmerman adds some extra tension to the tale. Robert is a city slicker from Chicago who came to see his uncle to find out if ranching is more exciting than working at his family's bakery. Unlike Wade, he hasn't been put to the test yet when it comes to gunfights, and his thirst for justice leads to a lot of rookie mistakes along the way. In addition, Wade and Robert encounter plenty of other dangers along the way, making it hard to predict what will happen next. The dynamic between these two characters, who are very different on the surface but actually have a lot in common, makes for interesting reading.
The Last Ride can be read as a standalone novel, but fans of Wade Garrison, who has read the entire series, will get the most from this book. As Wade trails the bandits, he encounters many familiar faces along the way, and some of these reunions are heartwarming, while others are heartbreaking. As mentioned earlier, there is a feeling of nostalgia that permeates this book, so reading the previous novels first comes highly recommended.
All in all, The Last Ride is a great western novel and another great entry in an exceptional series. Richard Greene continues to impress with his captivating yet straightforward storytelling skills, and it is easy to get so engrossed in the story that the chapters fly by in what feels like a heartbeat. Fans of Wade Garrison will know precisely what to expect from The Last Ride as it doesn't disappoint.
Feeding The Beast
Editorial Review from Manybooks Feb. 7 2020: Feeding the Beast by Richard Greene
A fast paced and brutal story, made complete by depth of character and excellent twists.
Set in the 1950’s, thirty years before the term ‘serial killer’ would exist, Richard J Greene’s book is gripping in both its plot complexity and its investigatory thrill.
Detective Dan Morgan has plenty of internal demons to battle, but this particular demon is real and grows ever more demanding for its own battle. The teenage girls the killer slaughters are oddly treated -- staged, with a missing finger. The treatment of the bodies after death show an eerie tenderness, which is contrasted sharply by the immense violence during the murder itself. These things disturb our investigator, who has already suffered a lot in his life.
Still reeling from the tragic loss of his wife to cancer only two years before the first killing, the death of his daughter, and estrangement from his son, Dan Morgan doesn’t have a lot to fill his spare time. However, when this particular criminal starts to correspond with Morgan, revealing a little more of their personality with each word, suddenly his time is not his own and his life is no longer the sad but safe routine he had retreated in to.
The book deals with historical policework quite well, as policing in the 1950’s was very different from the way things are done today. This is more than the lack of certain technologies but a deeper attitude shift towards the job, the victims, and the world view of the character we follow through the story.
With a story so violent and brutal there needs to be a softer aspect, and although Greene achieves this through tragedy and relatability – Detective Dan Morgan is ultimately a sympathetic character despite his flaws. This book teeters on the brink between a modern murder mystery and noir, Greene has done well to weave them together because, without due attention, the two could easily have clashed.
Readers of historical fiction with a taste for murder as well as noir fans will find something to like in Feeding The Beast. Those more dedicated to modern true crime may find the characters' alarm at the violence and nature of the murder somewhat over the top. The way Greene’s characters find the violence incomprehensible is almost naïve, and this genuinely adds to the atmosphere of ruined innocence that pervades the story.
Be prepared to want to read the whole book in one sitting, this page turning story and cast of well-developed characters is spellbinding.