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Book Review: Rattlesnakes, Ghosts and Murderers: Volume 1: McKenna and Barnett by Len Francis Monahan

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Rattlesnakes, Ghosts and Murderers is the first volume in the series McKenna and Barnett written by Len Francis Monahan. Monahan includes adventure, murder, and paranormal activity in an adventure novel. The story includes comic humor and satire in this new series of life on a ranch in America’s Old West.

Ole Smoke sets the mood for what is to come in a unique narration in his “writ-by-hand” ten-page diary dated in 1896. Drunkenness, insanity, and murder grab the readers’ attention in these first ten pages.

The story centers on fifteen-year-old orphan Colt Barnett and his relationship with Widow Helen McKenna, heir to the McKenna Ranch Empire. A paranormal theme is woven throughout the story with the introduction of an iconic silver picture frame. The book is filled with pleasantly packaged historical data from the early days of the Old West.

The colorful characters, engaging dialog, and unpredictable plot twists provide the reader with exciting adventure, danger and humorous circumstances.

Although the sheer weight of the nearly 400-page book is intimidating, the large print format with open white space offset this to a create a fast-moving flow of involvement, from side-splitting humor, exaggerated satire, and heartfelt drama.

Len Francis Monahan has a unique style of writing that captures the heartwarming drama of familial love, the life and death struggles of running a cattle ranch in the early American West with a fictional coming-of-age story. In Rattlesnakes, Ghosts and Murderers, Len Francis Monahan’s writing is addictive, entertaining, riveting and rewarding.

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About Richard R. Blake

  • Brady Westwater

    I picked it up in the dollar room of The Last Bookstore on Downtown Los Angeles just to add to my collection of any fiction on the West over a year ago – and never expected to read it. But when I box up things such as this to be stored, I always pull out each book and read a snippet, And in this case, that ‘snippet’ ended up being … 103 pages…. before I had to return to my work.

    And I won’t even try to explain why once you start reading it, it gets damn hard to stop since you did a pretty good job of describing its uniqueness; other than calling out the coming of age story as being ‘fictional’ which implied that the parts of the story described in the other half of that sentence were… non-fiction.

    On the other hand – that is exactly what one of his characters might have done.