Written in Blood, by John Wilson (2010)

Genre: Western, Historical
Interest level: 13-16
Written in BloodHmm. My second western – perhaps this genre is more appealing to me than I realized. This is written by Vancouver Island’s John Wilson, who often writes of young men in historical, violent times (the American Civil War, Spanish Civil War, First World War). This time there’s no war, but it’s the dangerous setting of Arizona/Mexico in the 1870s. At 16, Jim Doolen leaves his mother running a hotel in the Gold Rush town of Yale BC to find his father, who abandoned his young family 10 years before and went to Mexico. During his travels he meets with an ambush, scalpers, robbers, the law, an Indian mystic and of course, his own destiny. Written in Blood is a fine title for this – the gore is plenty (burbling blood from a slashed throat, scalps dripping blood) and by the time it’s over (spoiler alert) Jim has not only killed people, he’s calmly committed murder, and is at peace with it. Not my cup of tea, and I think I’d hesitate to recommend it, but I can see the appeal for those who like their justice served with a good dose of violence and gore.

More discussion and reviews on this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8248267-written-in-blood

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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