Good Westerns are hard to come by, and classic Westerns can probably be counted on the fingers of two hands. Journal of the Gun Years, whilst not a classic, is certainly a welcome addition to the titles classed as good. Wtitten as a journal charting the life of a youth from early soldiering in the Civil War, to his untimely death a few years later, the story is a gritty and unromantic look at the Old West. Well written and with a storyline which captures and keeps the readers interest, the novel should appeal to those who prefer the Larry McMurtry style of Western.
Joe Abercrombie mentioned this book as one of the books that inspired his 'Red Country' novel so I thought I'd give it a go and I'm glad I did. It's a short book and is written as excerpts from a diary of a man named Clay Halser. Throughout the book we witness his slow downfall from farmer to notorious gunslinger. It's a great read and portrays a rather more realistic and bleaker outlook on a gunslinger's lifestyle - one that fits in well with Joe Abercrombie's books. Very entertaining and sad in its own way it is an excellent alternative take on life in the Wild West. Recommended.