DESERT HEAT, DESERT COLD AND OTHER TALES OF THE WEST
This anthology is a collection of seventeen outstanding western short stories by Tale-weaver Extraodinaire, Charlie Steel.
No matter the challenge or adversity, Steel’s protagonists attempt to do what is right.They are caught in disputes beyond their control and must utilize inner strength and faith as they struggle for survival.Set mostly in the Front Range of the Colorado Mountains with its searing heat, numbing cold, limitless sky, endless prairie, and rising peaks--the land itself becomes a character.The stories are thrilling and unforgettable.
At the base of Greenhorn Mountain in Southern Colorado, a prolific writer pounds the keys.For over 40 years, celebrated western author, Charlie Steel, has poured out his heart and soul in the form of the written word.Charlie Steel can write, no doubt about it.Just take a look between the covers of his newest book, Desert Heat, Desert Cold and Other Tales of the West.
You will find no truer testament of a man who has mastered his craft, than with the title story of this book, Desert Heat, Desert Cold.Its main character, Sandy, beaten, robbed, and left to die, is determined to turn the tables on his would be killers.The story takes you on a trek across a hot and arid desert.The details of Sandy’s slow and painful journey will leave you searching for a tall glass of cool water.
From the desert’s scorching heat, to the bitter cold of a raging winter storm, in the storyMountain Man Comes Home, Mike Pardee learns that “Grass is not always sweeter on the other side of the fence” as he finds that life in town, married to a woman who doesn’t love him back, is more than he can take.Eventually heading back to his rustic mountain cabin, he finds what he had been searching for, in the middle of a blinding snowstorm.
Something in the Woodpile is a humorous tale about a packrat going about his business, as only packrats tend to do.When small, but important objects begin to come up missing, the accusations fly.It brings to light the ease we have as humans to accuse others when things are not as they should be, even before we have all the facts, and as you shall see, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
All of the stories are well thought out and masterfully written.I found them very enjoyable and easy to read.The book held my attention from the first page to the last, and with me, that’s not always an easy thing to do.
Throughout this book I found a central theme that bound these stories together as a single unit.It’s the theme of relationships.How we treat each other, react to each other, and especially how we handle ourselves and our relationships as we deal with unusual situations and the pressures of everyday life.
Charlie Steel keeps it interesting, keeps it lively, and most of all, he keeps it entertaining.If you enjoy reading western short stories as much as I do, you’ll enjoy Desert Heat, Desert Cold and Other Tales of the West.
This collection of stories takes place on our western frontier. They tell of bold folks, good and bad, clashing against each other, against the elements--extreme heat and cold, against poisonous snakes, huge bears, Indians, deserts and mountains. These stories paint word pictures triggering all the senses: the sound of coyotes; the smell of death; the taste of a cool breeze; the pain of hot sand and a hot bullet; the beautiful colors of dawn.
These are life-like stories where some of the good and strong people don’t survive. Others are given second chances by the generosity of strangers who, like themselves, are in search of a dream on the western edge of our young country in the 1800’s.
Television in its infancy was a black and white campfire in a box. Western stories were told, sometimes to four generations seated in front of these home fires. Thirty-two different Western Shows each week during the 50’s and 60’s.Wagon Train alone told 284 stories over an eight year span. Charlie Steel’s stories are much like the ones told on Wagon Train.They tell of a new self reliant, freedom loving creature-The American.
My imagination was invited by Charlie Steel’s stories to join the adventures. I gladly accepted the invitation!
Charlie Steel’s ease with words and talent in creating characters makes his latest collection of short stories a masterpiece.Life in the desert and in the mountains presents its own hardships.Steel takes those everyday trials to a new level, weaving tales about hard men with soft hearts, of folks working at getting along—and sometimes getting even.
The Lad from Norway reminds us sometimes that strongest family ties are created through loyalty and love, rather than by blood, and Grandma Gives No Quarter, a personal favorite, speaks to the strength and courage of a woman who keeps her head and doesn’t hesitate to protect her own.
Throughout this easy read, Steel brings his characters alive and endears them to our hearts.In doing so, Steel gives us all a reprieve—a welcome escape—from the trials of our own lives.