Book review: 'The Samaritan's Pistol' is an interesting western thriller

By K. Patrick Cassell

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Sept. 14 2013 12:30 p.m. MDT

"THE SAMARITAN'S PISTOL," by Eric Bishop, Jolly Fish Press, $28.99, 334 pages (f)

"The Samaritan's Pistol" by Eric Bishop is an interesting western thriller that explores the world of Jim Cooper, a middle-age rancher in Wyoming.

Jim is a good man who wants to help people in a bad situation.

As Jim takes a string of horses back to the stable, he runs across three men beating another. He decides to defend the man and ends up killing the three others with his pistol, after they start shooting at him. While the shooting is an act of self-defense, it still causes problems for Jim, because the trio are connected with the Mafia and their family wants to make an example of Jim.

The narrative is filled with ranch vocabulary, which may be an interesting aspect for anyone into horse riding. The story is left open-ended, giving the possibility of future installments.

Jim is not a Mormon and is living in an area where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the dominant religion — and Bishop includes a few Mormon characters, too.

"The Samaritan's Pistol" is an intriguing read, but the book is full of offensive language, including a few rough characters who frequently swear, smoke and drink alcohol, and some extreme violence. There are many expletives, including some that are of a sexual nature and others that are disrespectful to women, and there is sexual innuendo.

While the story is fun and a diversion, it is difficult to recommend due to the frequent profanity and descriptions of violence, sexual innuendo, dishonesty and crime. Though the vulgar language used may be realistic in the setting of the story, it is not necessary to tell a good tale.

"The Samaritan's Pistol" draws a comparison between how Jim helps people in need and the story of the Good Samaritan from the Bible.

Bishop lives in Nibley, Cache County. "The Samaritan's Pistol" is his first published novel.

If you go ...

What: Eric Bishop book signing

When: Friday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m.

Where: Barnes and Noble, Layton Market Center, 1780 N. Woodland Park Drive, Layton

Web: barnesandnoble.com

K. Patrick Cassell is a freelance writer and reviewer living in Florida.

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