It's the 19th century on the Gulf Coast, a time of opportunity and lawlessness. After escaping the Texas brothel where she'd been a virtual prisoner, Lucinda Carter heads for Middle Bayou to meet her lover, who has a plan to make them both rich, chasing rumors of a pirate's buried treasure. Read more...
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It's the 19th century on the Gulf Coast, a time of opportunity and lawlessness. After escaping the Texas brothel where she'd been a virtual prisoner, Lucinda Carter heads for Middle Bayou to meet her lover, who has a plan to make them both rich, chasing rumors of a pirate's buried treasure.
Meanwhile Nate Cannon, a young Texas policeman with a pure heart and a strong sense of justice, is on the hunt for a ruthless killer named McGill who has claimed the lives of men, women, and even children across the frontier. Who--if anyone--will survive when their paths finally cross?
As Lucinda and Nate's stories converge, guns are drawn, debts are paid, and Kathleen Kent delivers an unforgettable portrait of a woman who will stop at nothing to make a new life for herself.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-02
- Reviewer: Staff
The fates of a newly minted lawman, a former prostitute, and the promise of buried gold collide in Kent’s (The Traitor’s Wife) gripping third novel. Set in Texas in the 1870s, the novel alternates between the lives of Lucinda Carter and Nate Cannon, both of whom are starting over but under vastly different circumstances. After years in a Fort Worth brothel, Lucinda makes her escape—along with a pouch full of silver from the stingy landlady—to the remote outpost known as Middle Bayou, where she’s arranged a teaching position while she waits for her mysterious lover. Meanwhile, Nate, an Oklahoma native in his first year as a member of the Texas State Police, is sent to track down two legendary Texas Rangers, Capt. George Deerling and Dr. Tom Goddard, and alert them that William McGill, a killer they’ve been chasing for years, has struck again. The men form an uneasy trio, with the experienced Rangers unsurprisingly less than ecstatic to be saddled with a greenhorn, though Nate soon proves his worth. In Middle Bayou, Lucinda bides her time, waiting for her lover’s arrival and for him to follow through on his promise of a life made rich with pirates’ gold hidden near her new home. That Lucinda and Nate’s paths will cross is inevitable, but Kent ditches predictable romance for a tense, unsparing look at the price we’ll pay to get what we think we want. (Oct.)
An Old West adventure
There are two schools of thought when it comes to just how wild the Wild West was back in the post-Civil War days. Some folks claim it wasn’t as lawless as Sam Peckinpah would have it, while others cling to the notion that it really was as bad as folks said it was. In The Outcasts, Kathleen Kent—known previously for historical novels set in colonial New England—chooses the latter point of view, and then some.
Nate is a young Texas policeman who’s taken the job to get some money for his hardscrabble farm back in Oklahoma, where he lives with his wife and baby girl. He falls in with two veteran rangers, Deerling and Dr. Tom, who are on the hunt for a serial murderer named McGill. Dr. Tom is a bit older than Nate, and a voluble spinner of yarns. Deerling, on the other hand, is old enough to be the father of both men. Taciturn, with one of those adamantine moral codes, he would have been perfectly played by John Wayne.
A parallel story concerns a young woman named Lucinda, whom we first meet escaping a brothel to join up with her lover. He, of course, is the vicious killer the rangers are searching for. Slowly, it dawns on the reader that she’s almost as much of a psychopath as McGill. But the operative word is “almost.” Lucinda is capable of love, even if her love expresses itself in some deeply twisted ways. Will it be her downfall? Will it be McGill’s?
Kent’s minor characters are equally memorable, from the people Lucinda lives among while she pretends to be a schoolmarm, to the young boy who facilitates the last showdown. The dialogue, particularly between the rangers, has an almost Biblical cadence. Kent’s descriptions of landscape, weather and rough justice are stunning. Best of all, she keeps you guessing about the fate of these compelling characters.