Monday, October 7, 2013

Law of the Desert Born by Louis L'Amour with Beau L'Amour and Kathy Nolan - Book Review

From the publisher: The first graphic novel adaptation of the work of master storyteller Louis L’Amour is a dynamic tale of the Old West that explores the borderlands of loyalty and betrayal with the emotional grittiness of a noir thriller.

New Mexico, 1887, a land in the midst of the worst drought anyone can remember. Family histories and loyalties run deep, but when rancher Tom Forrester has his access to the Pecos River cut off by the son of his old partner, he convinces his foreman, Shad Marone, to pay Jud Bowman back for the discourtesy. Yet what starts as a simple act of petty revenge quickly spirals into a cycle of violence that no one can control.

Now Marone is on the run, pursued by a sheriff’s posse across a rugged desert landscape. Leading the chase is Jesus Lopez, a half-Mexican, half-Apache with a personal stake in bringing Shad to justice. Newly released from jail, trusted by no one, Lopez swears he’s the only man who can track Marone down. That may be true. But who will live and who will die and what price will be paid in suffering are open questions. Fate and the Jornada del Muerto desert possess a harsh justice that is all their own.

I had high hopes for this graphic novel, based on a short story by Louis L'Amour, the master of the western.  I love a good western, with the moral ambiguity and tough choices made by flawed characters.  Unfortunately, The Law of the Desert Born was just average.  All the pieces are there to create a great story, but they fail to coalesce into something great.  The story is told through flashbacks and present events, and the characters of Shad Marone and Jesus Lopez are interesting.  The authors, Beau L'Amour and Kathy Nolan, fail to add depth to either of the characters which results in the climax, and the story overall, losing it's punch.

The art is okay and the story is okay.  I hope there are further attempts to adapt Louis L'Amour's work, but the authors in charge of the adaptations need to make sure there is an emotional payoff.

I received a preview copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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