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The Indian Ring

Bendell, Don. The Indian Ring. New York: Berkley Books, 2016.

Referall – none

Genre – Western

234 pages


A spy has infiltrated President Grant’s administration. The best man to weed him out: Joshua Strongheart, a half-Lakota warrior/half-white lawman of national repute. But luck isn’t on Strongheart’s side. As soon as word gets out that he’s on the job, a group of well-trained shooters are on his trail. 


Ronald M. Hartwell once worked for the Secretary of War, but he is now the leader of the Indian Ring—a deadly syndicate of criminals out to decimate the native world. For Strongheart, nothing could hit closer to home. But when Hartwell sends his most trusted henchmen to bushwack his opponent, there’s only one thing left for Strongheart to do: kill or be killed.

The Indian Ring takes place within a historical narrative of the West portrayed through a fictitious character’s life as a gun-slinging detective working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. He is out to discover what is involved with The Indian Ring and contribute to its dismantlement. The story appeared intriguing through the blurb on the back, and as a smaller paperback, was a quick read.

I do enjoy reading decently written Westerns every so often. Having grown up in Colorado and New Mexico, and traveled to many of the Western and Southwestern States, I do have a love affair with the desert and mountains. I can not tolerate living in them for any length of time, but the smell of dry sage and the crisp heat of a summer breeze brings me back to my childhood.

This book did not answer any of those calls for me. I can appreciate a good gunslinger history fiction. The MC and the interaction with peripheral characters was flat though. The pacing was jittery. Some character interactions, such as the MC and his cousin early in the book was abrupt and truncated in emotional development. Designed to help the reader sympathize with the MC, it did little to provide context to the story due in part to the sentence structure and lack of creative depth around it. This scene alone could have been prolonged with more attention to dialogue or an introduction of the character to the reader at a different time by any other means – a conversation to probe the MC’s morals at a dinner perhaps?

The editor that looked over the grammar needed to be sent back to school. The over use of the words “very”, “really”, “literally”, and “just”, were enough to make me cringe. Run-on sentences in the first couple pages alone set up a red flag for my expectations. Describing Eagle, the pinto horse, more than a few times in the first couple of chapters with the term “big” and “sixteen-hands” was redundant and could have been eliminated after the first description of the beast. At the very least, throwing a thesaurus at some of these words would have added variety. I despised the flat description of “beautiful” quickly after the fifth horse and second woman. Kick that description to the curb unless it is used sparingly. I ended up finding it difficult to get into the meat of the story due to poor editing choices.

If you are a die-hard fan of Westerns regardless of grammatical issues, by all means, have a go at it. The author is well researched if anything.

I’m glad I rented it from the library and will be returning it shortly.

RT @ThorntonGibsonK: I can’t wait to read what happens next in The Kavordian Library! – #scifi, #fantasy, #webseries #books

I am a writer and artist working through the Kavordian Library series. I write sci-fi, fantasy, lgbt romance.

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