Editorial Review: Wade Garrison's Promise by
Richard J Greene
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.
This is the story about a young man form South Carolina that leaves home in search of the adventures he read about in novels of the west. However, the adventures he sought came only in the form of hard work on the Circle T Ranch, a large cattle ranch on the plains of eastern Colorado working for a man named Tolliver Grimes. The young man whose name is Wade Garrison soon becomes best friends with another young man named Emmett Spears, who also works at the Circle T Ranch.
After Emmett Spears is gunned down in a saloon in Harper, Colorado by four drifters, Wade Garrison makes a promise while standing over the grave of his friend that he will hunt down and bring those responsible to justice. He sets out tracking the four men across the plains of Colorado to a remote cabin in the Rocky Mountains and a scene so terrible it sickens him. Wrongfully arrested by Sheriff Frank Wells for what Wade found at the cabin, he is soon rescued by another lawman Seth Bowlen who proves Wade's innocence. After his release from jail, Wade teams up with Sheriff's Seth Bowlin, Frank Wells, and buffalo hunter Gil Robinson. Together they trail the men Wade is after deeper into the Rocky Mountains, then south over Raton Pass into New Mexico, and into Mexico.
Wade was not prepared for what he and the others would discover along their journey, he would return to Harper, Colorado a changed man.