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Posted August 8, 2001
In the third of a series of western novels dealing with moral choices, Spur Award winner Richard S. Wheeler has written a suspenseful tale set in a Kansas cattle town. The female owner of a frontier newspaper chooses to expose corruption by city officials, even though the leader of the grafters is her own son. Wheeler makes Angie Drum's dilemma completely believeable, and surrounds her with a cast of realistic, unpredictable characters. A typical example is town marshal Spade Ball, a tough lawman who knows how to tame a town but isn't above lining his pockets by trumping up charges and shaking down his prisoners. Wheeler wraps the package in historical detail so authentic you can smell the dust of the cattle yards and the ink of the newspaper office. Drum's Ring, like all of Wheeler's novels that this reviewer has read, is simply excellent. The ending may surprise readers used to traditional western novels, but it reflects the unpredictability of life.
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