ON THE ROAD TO LAS CRUCES;
Being A Novel Account of The Last Day
In The Life of A Legendary Western Lawman
by Pat Nolan
Pat Nolan’s first published novel, On The Road To Last Cruces; Being A Novel Account of The Last Day In The Life of A Legendary Western Lawman is the story of youthful bravado and an old man’s regret, and as much a dusty tale of buffalo hunts and shoot-outs as a politically driven “whodunit.”
Steeped in the lore of Western radio dramas, cliff-hanging serials, B Oaters, pulp shoot-em ups, and a steady diet of prime-time horse operas, it seems only fitting that Pat Nolan would have distilled his adolescent exposure into a seminal prose of understatement. The violence in a man’s life, linked by subtle segues, passes as something not particularly unusual. The consequences are not always evident on a path drawn by blind fate. Nor is the identity of the Western lawman immediately apparent, as is obviously the author’s intent. For those familiar with gunfighter sagas, catching the drift will be easy.
Pat Nolan starts right off by telling us what is going to happen, he then lays out the circumstances to what is about to happen, and finally we are privy to the last moment and its irresolution. Along the way, when the tools of law include deadly force, there are bound to be killings. However there are no showdowns, no heroics, no fancy horsemanship, no arduous adversity, merely pain and regret, bitterness and rancor, and the consequences of another misstep. It is a tragedy that lends itself to allegory. It is lament as well as praise for a misunderstood legend of the Southwest.
On The Road To Las Cruces is a work of fiction tethered loosely to historical fact. It is the story of the relationship between two men, one garrulous, the other taciturn, the Mutt and Jeff of the old Southwest, and the tradition of storytelling and the authoring of ‘true’ accounts. What is related on the road to Las Cruces is as much a retelling of some history as it is how such a retelling might come about, and is represented in the manner of a tall tale, the deadpan details of a crime story, melodrama, and a conspiracy to murder.
November, 2011 ~ $16.99 ~ 154 pages ~ 978-0-9840310-1-6
“. . . a real old-fashioned Western. Page-turner. There are all sorts of funny sly mixes in the story, good Nolan humor, great repartee. . . .”
– Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator and author of Whatever Gets You Through The Night.
“Pat Nolan is not only one of our finest living poets. . . but now surprises with a prose paean to the West. Whatever Pat writes deserves to be read and remembered.”
– Barry Gifford, author of Wild At Heart and Sailor And Lula
“. . . delight in the narrative style. [T]ruly vivid. . . . The book is damn good.”
– Eric Johnson, poet and master printer, Iota Press
“Pat Nolan has added a fresh chapter to our Western lore with this fine, crackling tale.”
– Bart Schneider, author of Nameless Dame and The Man In The Blizzard
“On the Road to Las Cruces takes us on a twilight journey through frontier history. Nolan’s adroit and stylish prose intertwines death, betrayal, greed and conspiracy as each claims its victims.”
– Keith Abbott, author of Downstream From Trout Fishing In America
A Rip-Snorting Yarn of the Old West with Plenty of Hair Raising Exaggeration