Title: The Ballad of Black Bart
Author: Loren D. Estelman
Genre: Historical Fiction / Western
Pages: 237
Rating: 4 of 5

I don’t care for Westerns, but this tale of the poetry-writing, walking-rather-than-riding “gentleman bandit” with a grudge against Wells Fargo was an entertaining read. It isn’t a typical Western, but more like “novelized history.” In other words, the author has meticulously researched the people and events he is writing about and retells their story while inventing some dialogue and inner thoughts and using his imagination to flesh out the details (think Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels or Ron Hansen’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).

The style occasionally drifts into sounding more like a history book than a novel and is more about dogged detective work than high action, but it suited my taste. If you like history, especially the history of notorious people, this is worth your time.

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