Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Review: 'Don't I Know You?'

Don't I Know You?
by Terry Burns

Most people liked Larry Smith on sight. Actually, most thought they new him, with his nondescript face and features. This worked to his advantage and disadvantage, enough that he found himself facing murder charges for killing a local judge's brother. Good luck with justice in a small Texas town where everyone knows everyone's else's business and they take 'speedy trial' to a new level. 

Terry Burns takes us into the Old West, where cattle rustlers get hanged on the spot, or a man can find himself a nice little spread and settle down. Woven into the story are similes and metaphors that spice up the tome like a good lathering of barbecue sauce:

“His eyes came up and saw Jake and Larry. They went as cold as a pistol left laying in a snow bank.”

“Not me, man, I’d sooner try to put a saddle on a panther than tangle with the Rafter T.”

“I dang near got acquainted with the business end of Billy the Kid’s shooting irons, and didn’t even know it. That’s about as close to pulling up the old dirt covers as I’ve ever been. Old Larry pulled my fat outta the fire for sure.”

Larry's a great guy, a cowboy trying to make his place in Texas, and finds himself in numerous situations with people who recognize him- or think they do. Miss Mandy, for instance, gets escorted to her uncle's place by Larry because he's a gentleman. Of course, when another recognizes him as a cattle rustler, Larry finds himself wearing a woven hemp necktie and comes close to 'pulling up the dirt covers' himself.

But he uses his familiarity to get places. And people, even after realizing they don't recognize him, perceive his integrity and he finds himself deep in the land of politics, as the country struggles to manage itself during it's explosive growth. 

Burns does a great job of showing us the day when men took the law into their own hands and ladies struggled to make a household in the wilderness. The reader can smell the leather of the saddles and the trail dust as he takes him out in the country, where people are real- real honest, real mean, and real workers. 

Part Western, part suspense and a bit of love story, 'Don't I Know You?' is woven together to make a great read. It's as good as a June Bug on a cactus bloom. Okay, I better leave the metaphors to Terry. 

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  1. Yes, it's a fine book--very imaginative and original. One of the better Westerns I have read.

  2. This is one of Terry's that I'm not familiar with. I'll have to check it out. Thanks, Kevin!