When Desert Storm veteran Jim Cooper kills three criminals in order to save a life, the decision is not without consequence. A fourth criminal, wounded by Jim’s gun, offers him a large reward in exchange for help. Challenged with balancing his kind heart with a desire to protect his own life, Jim finds himself on a trip to retrieve a truckload of stolen Mafia cash near the Las Vegas strip, never more than a few steps ahead of mobsters who’d like nothing more than to see him dead. Even if Jim and his partner-in-crime escape with the money, will his conservative neighbors provide sanctuary for their local Samaritan? Will he live in fear of Mafia revenge for the rest of his life? Set in the Mountain West, this driving thriller will appeal to fans of action-adventure, crime, and contemporary western novels alike.
|Publisher:||Jolly Fish Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Eric Bishop is the owner of a marketing firm; The Samaritan’s Pistol is his first novel. He lives in Nibley, Utah.
Read an Excerpt
The Samaritan's Pistol
A Rocky Mountain Thriller
By Eric Bishop
Jolly Fish PressCopyright © 2013 Eric Bishop
All rights reserved.
The dog nosed his fingers, and Jim shivered to life on a lumpy bed of horse blankets.
"Mornin', Duke." Jim yawned and then rubbed the dog's head as clouds spit lightning over craggy peaks. The attendant thunder boomed through everything. Rain started, and Jim pulled an old tarp over himself and the dog. The pitter-patter might have lulled him back to sleep, but Duke nosed his hand again.
"Who needs an alarm clock?" Jim petted the dog's head before rolling to his elbow. His thirty-eight-year-old body ached, so he pinched an Ibuprofen from his shirt pocket and twisted open a canteen.
Oil for a rusty hinge, he thought as cold, black coffee chased the tablet.
Dry beneath the tarp, he rubbed both eyes then lifted the edge, revealing long shadows and a gray sky. To the east, the sun was burning through the clouds, coloring the continental divide's ridges a postcard-worthy mix of violet and orange.
In addition to the view, the cash in the safe back at the ranch made the cold morning worth the effort. Four grand doubled the most he'd ever charged for packing clients into the mountains.
Jim burrowed into the saddle blankets again, waiting for the caffeine to jump-start his morning and wondering about the man who hired him.
Chris Cobb was as anxious to fly fish Wyoming's high country as a newborn foal was to stand, but only half as steady. Calling at late notice, he'd begged Jim to pack him and six friends — plus gear — deep into the Wyoming Rockies for a fly-fishing trip.
Chris didn't matter now. The raindrops ceased, typical of a fast-moving, high country storm. Jim tugged on his boots and rolled to his knees, pulled the tarp away and stood. His breath hung in the frosty air, but he ignored the chill. With fingers for a comb, he swept back a thick but graying mane, smashing it into place with a battered old cowboy hat. He stretched for a moment but quit, knowing the best way to alleviate the aches was to get moving.
Looking toward the meadow and his horses, Duke pushed against his leg.
"Would you like some help?" a voice asked.
Jim turned and found Chris emerging from a tent.
"You're up early for someone on vacation," Jim said, turning again toward the horses.
"Packing all our gear in here on late notice, it's the least I owe you."
"You paid me plenty." Jim took a bridle from where it hung on a tree branch. "Everyone else still asleep?"
"The hike in wore them out." Chris eyed Jim's makeshift bed. "How come you don't sleep in a tent?"
"Can't see the stars."
"How can I help?" Chris asked.
"Unsnap the picket ropes at the halters," Jim instructed as they headed to the horses. "I'll ride the buckskin. The rest'll follow like true believers."
"You don't want me to lead them?"
"Nah." Jim shook his head. "They know the drill."
The tall meadow grass soaked Jim's pants to the knee. He pulled the buckskin's stake, coiled the wet picket rope into a bundle, and slipped it over his shoulder. Then he slipped the bit into the horse's mouth, while gently pulling its ears under the bridle. He led the buckskin closer to a pair of horses, and after unsnapping their ropes, jumped aboard the buckskin's bareback and headed toward camp.
Chris did as instructed and watched as the horses trotted toward Jim like football players toward a water break. As they reached the fire ring, Jim tied each horse to a tree and started brushing the buckskin with long, fluid strokes.
"Show me what to do," Chris offered.
"You brush, and I'll saddle." Jim demonstrated how to groom his horses, insisting Chris focus on any spots of dirt that would wear a sore beneath the cinches. Then he went to the pile where he'd slept for an armful of saddle blankets and packsaddles. Forty-five minutes later, all of the horses were tied head-to-tail and ready to go.
"Appreciate the help," Jim said, extending his hand to Chris.
"That's quite a grip."
Jim didn't reply, thinking it was the typical city-dude comment.
"I get up early back in Vegas, so I don't mind," Chris continued.
"Vegas?" Jim rolled his eyes and made his tone as sympathetic as possible. "What do you do there?"
"I'm a CPA."
"A money man." Jim brightened, then thinking about the four grand added. "You must be good."
Chris smiled. "I am."
"Well, this week you're a fisherman." Jim swung into the saddle. "I'll be back Friday."
"You don't want to stay for breakfast?" Chris offered.
"There's a leftover sandwich in my saddle bags." The horse shifted. "Steady Sam." Jim reined the buckskin still. "I'll make the trailhead by noon if I get moving."
"Got your pepper spray?" Jim asked.
"Right here." Chris patted his vest pocket.
"A clean camp'll keep the bears away more than anything," Jim said over his shoulder as he led the seven packhorses down the trail.
The zip-ties dug into Larry's wrists, stinging flesh worn away from traveling sixteen hours in the back of the Escalade. The vehicle veered right, rolling his six-seven frame against the side of the car, along with the golf clubs the three kidnappers had piled over him. The irons and woods jangled against each other as the road became rougher. Larry suspected one of his captors had partially opened a window; dust from the gravel road seeped in, mixing with cigarette smoke and dried turf from golf spikes.
"Are we there yet?" a voice Larry only knew as Johnny asked. "C'mon uncles, are we there yet?"
The vehicle bounced through a pothole.
"Are we there yet?" Johnny continued, the cadence and tone changing each time.
"Where'd that come from?" a threadbare smoker's voice asked. If Larry remembered right, the smoker was Johnny's uncle, Simon.
"Answer me!" Johnny said, his voice a mixture of playful and impatient. "Are we there yet?"
"It's Donkey from Shrek," a third voice, belonging to Johnny's uncle Marcus, answered through a yawn. "My kids watch it every day."
"I like that boulder," Johnny paused. "That is a nice boulder!"
Simon cleared his throat. "Guess I'll have to see the movie."
Larry's head thudded against the rear seat as the Escalade stopped. In addition to reigniting the stinging in his wrists, the sudden stop compressed his full bladder and cramped legs.
"Earth to Johnny — this is Uncle Simon."
"We're there," Simon chuckled into a dry cough. "Go wiz while we call your dad."
"Right on." The door opened with the attendant chime, and then the door slammed.
"Maybe we should gag the nephew on the way home," Marcus said.
"There's an idea."
"Put the call on speakerphone," Marcus suggested.
The phone rang twice before a splatter of static over someone's voice filled the vehicle.
"You there? Michael?" Marcus asked. "We're in the woods."
"Did you find him?" The question rattled the speakerphone.
"Now I hear you Mike. We're still looking and we're outta road."
"Whaddaya mean outta road?"
"We're at a trail head. We think the accountant went camping. We're gonna go dump the cargo in the woods while we look."
Larry's stomach sank, knowing he was the cargo.
"How's Johnny been?" Michael's voice asked through the phone.
"Johnny's Johnny," Marcus answered. "You love him or hate him."
"Appreciate you taking him."
"What's to thank? We're family," Simon responded.
"Shit!" Michael said in a tone indicating he'd just realized something important. "Make sure to call our old man out in Florida. Today's his eighty-fourth."
"Did anyone remember?" Simon turned to Marcus. "You get him anything?"
"I got it." Michael's voice filled the vehicle. "You two can't get anything done out there. I'll have a limo take him to dinner from all of us."
"Yeah, thanks," Marcus agreed. "What about Johnny?"
"Have him call. His grandpa loves that kid. Talk to me when you know something," Michael ordered, and then the phone clicked off.
The front doors opened and shut with the crisp air-tight sound of a new vehicle. Even though Larry expected it, the rear hatch lifting startled him. The clubs were taken away, and then a clawing hand grasped his belt, squeezing his bladder as they dragged him from the Escalade.
The parking lot was a football field compared to the cargo space. Larry stretched his legs and squinted at sagebrush and a few aspen trees at the gravel's edge. A rusty old gooseneck livestock trailer attached to a dented Dodge pick-up was parked next to the Escalade. At the far end of the parking lot was a wooden corral, where a watering trough overflowed into a muddy spot a few yards from the parking lot's gravel edge. To the right, shaded by a giant pine tree was an outhouse, complete with a half-moon cut into the door.
"Hey, Sambo, wasn't you a former athlete?" Simon lit a cigarette then rolled it between pudgy be-ringed fingers.
"Cut me loose, and I'll show you." Larry shifted to where Simon's muffin-top belly eclipsed the rising sun.
"And have you gone Mike Tyson on me?" Simon inhaled, turning the ash bright red before exhaling dragon-like from both nostrils.
"I'm gonna play golf." Johnny grabbed a driver and unzipped the bag's side compartment, spilling several balls onto the gravel. "Where's the tees?"
"Put it away," Marcus ordered. "You need to call your grandpa to wish him happy birthday."
Johnny dropped the driver and a second later was thumbing his phone. "Dear Gramps," Johnny narrated the text. "Happy birthday. You're the best."
The three men had kidnapped Larry from behind, throwing him directly into the Escalade. Viewing his captors for the first time, Larry wondered if Marcus and Simon were twins. Designer golf shirts clung to protruding bellies, while watches and bracelets hung loose around their wrists. Displayed against tan skin were gold necklaces nestled in thick chest hair. Simon stood an inch taller than Marcus. They both had fringes of gray around their ears.
Johnny was measuring his swing. Nickel-sized gauges stretched each earlobe. Skater shorts hung beyond his knees. The t-shirt sleeves reached his elbows, and his forearms were inked to his wrists.
"Could I take a leak?" Larry asked.
The golf ball sliced at a ninety-degree angle and shattered the Escalade's side mirror.
"Fuck." Simon flicked the ash from his smoke. "Put the clubs away."
"Glad you drove." Marcus smiled at his brother.
"I'm about to piss myself here." Larry doubted they'd let him, but it was worth asking.
"What?" Simon turned from the mirror.
"I need to pee."
"Go ahead." Simon flicked the cigarette's ash. "You've used your hands for the last time."
"Don't be such a hard-ass." Johnny stepped back and took a practice swing at another ball. "Let the man pee."
Simon dangled the cigarette from his lips and pulled a pistol from behind his back. He nodded to Marcus, who took a knife from his pocket and sliced the ties.
Larry's numb fingers responded like prosthetic appendages as he struggled with the zipper before relieving his bladder. Tingling ignited in his palms as he finished.
They'll shoot if I run, Larry thought. I'm dead anyway. He bolted, but only made three steps before the bullet's impact sprayed gravel against his calves. Larry stopped knowing the next slug would hit flesh.
"Tie him up." Simon held the pistol on Larry as Marcus went to the vehicle and returned with two new ties.
Larry rubbed the already rising welts where the gravel had peppered his bare skin, before placing his hands behind his back.
Marcus cinched Larry's hands then pulled backward, toppling him to the ground. Larry tried to stand, but Marcus grabbed his neck with both hands and squeezed hard enough to stifle the scream as Simon sizzled the cigarette into Larry's shoulder.
"Who needs an ashtray?" Marcus asked as his brother crumpled the butt.
The radiating agony from his shoulder and the scent of his own charred flesh mixed with tobacco smoke and the pressure on his throat made Larry gag.
Simon flicked the butt into the gravel behind the livestock trailer. He knelt close to Larry and exhaled in his face. "Think about it as we hike — quick and painless, or a human ashtray?"
Larry turned away from Simon's gaze and putrid breath to see Johnny, club in hand, eyes big, and mouth open. Johnny's mouth shut. Then he swallowed; the snake tattoo on his throat looked like the snake had actually swallowed a mouse.
"Sorry," Johnny mouthed.
"Me, too." Larry waited until Johnny's eyes dropped and turned away.
Larry stood, and Marcus tied a rope to his wrists. A yank reignited the sting even though his hands had already passed from tingling to numb.
"Put the clubs back." Simon strode past Johnny to the front passenger door, where he rummaged through the glove compartment. He came back with a revolver that he handed to his nephew.
"Let's move," Marcus said from behind.
A rocky trail wound upward, with chest-high sagebrush on both sides. A few hundred yards from the parking lot, they reached the forest's edge. Despite shade from the pines and the cool morning, sweat still dripped from Larry's brow.CHAPTER 2
Two hours after leaving Chris and the others, Jim studied the tree canopy with a smile of contentment, moving between patches of light and shadow as the horse carried him down the trail.
"Hardly sucks at all, Sam," he said to the horse. "This is the place to spend Sunday."
He checked on the pack string over his shoulder. They resembled a kindergarten class, holding hands as they crossed the road. Each horse followed the one in front, pulling and giving slack as Jim and Sam led them through the woods.
The short rainstorm amplified the smell of the pines, and Jim expanded his lungs, knowing that within a few hours he'd be branding and inoculating steers at his ranch in the hot, dusty valley.
The caravan approached a spot where the trail descended through a twisting granite chute. Car-sized boulders made an obstacle course the horses would have to skirt — a slip or stumble would send them over the cliff's edge. In the middle of it all stood an old growth pine, nearly three feet in diameter, rubbed free of bark on one side from passing pack animals.
Jim twisted in the saddle to check on the horses. Instead of moving smoothly, the third horse's head bobbed up and down, indicating a limp.
Jim leapt from Sam, who stopped immediately.
"Easy boy," he said as he approached the horse and lifted the hoof. A small, sharp rock was wedged in the crevice by the frog of the hoof. After using his multi-tool to dislodge the stone, he tossed it into the woods. Then, he watched as the horse put all his weight on the limb.
"Easier without the shrapnel?" Jim asked, petting the animal's neck.
He climbed back on Sam, watching as the string followed in single-file.
With the rough section behind them, Jim relaxed, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells.
Rustling in a thicket of wild raspberries startled the horses as they approached a meadow. Black bears loved raspberries, and whatever was shaking the bushes was running toward them. Sam snorted, turned to look, his ears pointed toward the potential threat.
Snaking his hand beneath his shirt, Jim gripped his subcompact .45 caliber Kimber 1911 pistol, but didn't draw. "Let me know if that's you, Duke!"
A friendly bark and Jim unclenched the gun as Duke burst from the thicket. Sam and Duke exchanged sniffs, and Sam resumed walking with no urging from Jim.
"Thanks for the chaos." Jim shook his head and smiled at the dog that was now trotting at the horse's side.
As the caravan rattled down the trail, Jim ate the sandwich from his saddlebags in a half-dozen bites, but his stomach still rumbled. The trailhead was over an hour away, so he reached in his shirt pocket and took out a butterscotch candy. Partially unwrapped, specks of lint clung to the sticky surface.
"Next time we stop, this is yours," Jim said, knowing Sam would disregard the lint.
A gunshot echoed through the woods, faint, barely audible, and certainly coming from miles away. Jim reined Sam still, listened for a second shot, but heard nothing.
Unexpected gunfire in the wilderness was usually as simple as someone sighting in a rifle, taking a shot at a coyote, or target practice.
Excerpted from The Samaritan's Pistol by Eric Bishop. Copyright © 2013 Eric Bishop. Excerpted by permission of Jolly Fish Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
So I read a book over the last three days. That might not sound like a big deal, but I don’t read books. Well, I don’t read books very often. I have lots of books but most of them are reference books and tutorial books. I read parts of them but very seldom sit down and just read a book. I have tried and have had good intentions of reading, it just doesn’t happen. Three days after starting this book I was done. I even found myself staying up late at night to read instead of flipping on the television to catch some recorded shows. That is as amazing as me reading a book, no television for three days. So what is this book? Well, it is a book about a man from a small town in Wyoming. He is a rancher, has lots of horses and cows, makes money guiding wealthy tourists into the wilderness of Wyoming, and he has a pistol (ok, that was probably obvious from the title of the book). He has more than just a pistol, he is a typical dude from Wyoming with an arsenal of weapons. People from Wyoming sure love their weapons don’t they? Jim, the Wyoming cowboy with the pistol, has a pretty ordinary life doing what he loves and being alone for the most part. Then he runs into a situation that changes his life forever – he comes upon a mob-hit on the trail back to his ranch. I know, a mob-hit in the mountains of Wyoming? It is explained in the book, there is a reason it is happening at that location – trust me. Jim is forced to handle the situation with his pistol and ends up with three dead mobsters and all of the problems that come with killing mobsters – as you can imagine. The book follows Jim around as he tried to sort out his life after upsetting the mafia in Las Vegas. Jim is a very good-natured cowboy and seems to make friends with almost everyone, except the leader of the mob who is now mourning the loss of two of his best men and his son. Jim decides to help the individual whom he saved, and share in some financial fortune at the same time, by making a trip to Las Vegas to bring back bags and bags of money. Jim is more interested in the adventure of the situation than the money available and his actions portray that interest very well. So we have horses and guns. We have mobsters and killing. A trip to Las Vegas to retrieve millions of dollars is mixed in if those were not interesting enough. All of those things happen before the love interest materializes and relationship drama is introduced. There are many instances of how a Mormon community protects a neighbor (Jim is a good friend but doesn’t share the same religious beliefs as the majority of the community) as he is chased by the mafia. Oh, and we have cussing. There is a lot of cussing. I am not talking mild cussing, this is full-strength mafia cussing. The books is obviously a precursor to many more novels rattling around in Eric’s head as there are many story lines left hanging. There is enough closure to most of the story to make a break, but it does leave you wondering about some of the characters and what might happen next. I want more. When does the next installment of this series continue? I recommend the book – but only if you can handle strong language. It isn’t often that you can find a book that crosses so many genres. This book has something for almost everyone. Well done.
Eric Bishop likes to say that The Samaritan’s Pistol is about a guy who had a gun and used it when he needed it. It’s a pithy, memorable way to describe his book and the cover certainly conveys this idea. But Eric’s book is much deeper than a simple gunslinger western—although there are horses, guns, ranches, sheriffs, and hay bales a plenty. I tease him that it’s cowboys versus mobsters, but even that’s too reductive. The Samaritan’s Pistol blends several different genres into one rip-roaring read that sure to delight readers of thrillers, westerns, spy, literary fiction, and crime novels. There’s even a little skinny dip into romance. With a few keystrokes, Eric paints rural life in small town Wyoming where people generally let people live as they please, but fiercely circle the wagons at the first sight outsider trouble for those they consider their own. I’ve lived in these kinds of communities and the small kindnesses that Eric describes are as real and as genuine as the characters he creates. In many ways his story is as much about this way of life as it is about murder, revenge, and money stolen from the mob. But you knew it had to come back to the mob, right? Jim Cooper’s ex-military and living as a rancher and wilderness guide in the town he grew up in. Except for a couple of ranch hands and his dog, Duke, he’s pretty much a loner. Like most modern-day cowboys, he’s got his own moral code about fair fights and damsels in distress, so it’s no surprise that when he comes upon three men on a mountain trail about to shoot an unarmed fourth he decides to even up the odds. When the smoke clears, Jim has three bodies to pack out, a dead horse, an injured man to care for, and more trouble than he knows what to do with. It’s a journey that sends him to Las Vegas and back and gives a new meaning to shoot, shovel, and shut up. But I gotta warn you. The fight doesn’t end in this book. I think Eric’s got a couple more novels about Jim Cooper simmering in the ol’ dutch oven. If you’re looking for the perfect read for the hardworking, rather-be-fishing, what-these-moody-vampire-kids-need-is-a-job man in your life, The Samaritan’s Pistol fits the bill.
Stumbled across this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. A great story! Interesting characters and setting. The right amount of action and excitement and some great dialog. The main character is a more pleasant (and realistic) version of a cross between Jack Reacher and Walt Longmire. I can't wait to read the next books in this series!
I bought your book at a gun show late last year. You were sitting there by yourself and it made me think of my Dad, a retired fighter pilot turned writer, trying to sell one of his books. So I bought one, maybe a little out of feeling sorry for you. Well, I just finished The Samaritan's Pistol and loved it!! You have a gift of bringing the reader into the story. It was exciting and touching. I conclude from the ending there may be a sequel. Save my e-mail address if so I want to get it. Thanks again for a great read!
My Rating: This is outside of my normal reading genres, but I am always willing to step outside of the box for something that catches my attention like Samaritan's Pistol. There were so many great elements to the story right off the bat and with the strong characters to carry you through the book. I immediately liked Jim and his rough but gentle cowboy ways. As each additional character was introduced I liked them as well (Brody and Skinner both quickly became favorites). The story line was also very interesting, Jim getting caught up in the Mafia when he seems to prefer his quiet way of life. There was a good deal of action during the story but definitely had some lulls, and those lulls didn't really convey suspense to me. While I enjoyed the book it didn't put me on the edge of my seat. The end was left wide open for a sequel, which I believe Bishop is working on, but could still be enjoyed on its own. For those of you who follow my blog or my reviews know I recently DNF a book for pushing religion, Samaritan's Pistol introduced religion as well, but this book is the way you should present it! The religion is part of the book but it doesn't take over and doesn't force it down your throat, I really appreciated that aspect. My Rating: While I really enjoyed the book and especially the characters it didn't really scream suspense or thriller to me, so that was a little bit of a let down, but it was still a good book. I give it a rating of Three Paws.
Get ready for a Fun and Intriguing Ride!!! Read this book in 4 days. So Fun!!! I was reading when I should have been doing other things! Could picture every character like I really knew them. Called Erica and told him, I hoped his next book was already at the printers. It sucks you in from the very first and never slows down. I now have my kids fighting over who is reading it next! Thanks Eric and hurry and bring on the next one!!! Dot
When Eric Bishop tells about adventures in the wilderness, you get a pretty good idea he has been there and writes from experience. I thoroughly enjoyed his integration of the beauties of rugged nature with a fast paced action story. And while the story line is intense, the nuances of people trying to get along with people (as well as getting along with their past) made the story very real and engaging. The basics of the story have been laid out in other reviews so I won't repeat those here. I am excited to read another installment (I assume Eric will keep writing). And yes, it is clear that there is plenty of room to add to this exciting adventure. That being said, I appreciated the completion of the basic story and seeing the hero step past some of the demons of his past. I closed the book happy and look forward to more adventures of Jim Cooper.
Bishop offers something for every type of reader in his debut novel. For what might be considered a genre book, the literary value cannot be overlooked in Bishop's work. The authenticity in his writing stands out even stronger in some passages than others, particularly in the subtle moments of Jim's life when he is interacting with his animals or nature or is reflecting on the past. I appreciate Bishop's ability to intuitively bring his characters to life by the use of a few simple words or a phrase without drawing conclusions for the reader. Of course, there is plenty of action and excitement to be had in the plotline of this narrative, even a bit of romance. What I wasn't expecting in this type of book was the Mormon angle but was pleasantly surprised at how well it was handled. It's hard to write a novel that includes religion, especially Mormonism, and do it in a way that doesn't feel forced or fake but Bishop manages to pull it off. Good job on a successful debut. Looking forward to reading more.
I bought this book from Eric from a Barnes and Noble in Salt Lake City, he was there doing a book signing. Well, I've finally finished all the other books I was reading and I was able to start this book a few days ago. I just finished it last night and I wanted to write you and tell you I loved it! I usually don't like the westerners but this was such a fun/good read, I like his style. I really got to know each one of the characters, and growing up in Utah I could also relate to a few of them (Jim, S, Brody, Sally, etc.).He also mentioned there will be2 sequels, the first being released late 2014/early 2015. I cant wait to find out what Michael has in store for Jim and his new friends! In short, great book, cant wait for the next!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a great relaxing read, when you just want to escape. I liked Jim's on-going "self talk" and learned some of the unique culture, which was deftly explained by the diverse characters. There is always more to a community that initially meets the eye. Given the open ending, I certainly hope the sequel is in the works!
I purchased this book late on a Friday afternoon, and finished reading it by early Sunday evening. It flowed very smoothly, and each chapter just slipped into the next. Since many others have already described the main thrust of the book, I won't go into that. I will say that the characters are interesting (I particularly liked Brody, the main character's ranch hand...I guess as I get older, I gain more of an appreciation for crusty, but ultimately likeable, characters), the locales are well-described and easy to picture, and the events and dialogue are plausible and believable. All in all, it was a very enjoyable read, and I hope that there are indeed follow-on books coming in the future. Tim
The book was wonderful. It kept my interest the entire time and was fast moving. Loved it!
Hey Bish, Finally had a chance to read your book this weekend and really enjoyed it! The fact that I know you, and can relate to a many things in the book, made it that much more entertaining. It captured my attention, and I had a hard time putting it down until I was finished with it. I look forward to the next book and how the next chapter will play out! See you somewhere soon! Mike Liechty
Great Start from a New Author I met Eric at the St. George B & N and we started talking and it turns out we like many of the same authors and had similar viewpoints about their books. I decided to take a chance as I had just finished the CJ Box series and was looking for something new. I read it in 2 days and was very excited to get in with a new author at the beginning of his series (there is a planned 3 story arc). As the story is presented in other reviews I'll just mention some of the things that appealed to me. I liked the characters and the action sequences were exciting. Being from the west I totally was into the setting as this takes place between Wyoming to Las Vegas and I have been up and down I-15 many times so I could relate to the travel scenario. The LDS church is also represented in a neutral but respectful manner. There are 2 characters that I really liked aside from the lead character, Jim. They are Brody and Larry. I like the interchanges between the 2 of them as well as the way they get fleshed out as the story continues and I'm looking forward to seeing their further development. There is also a wonderful vignette between the mob boss, Michael and a 4 year old boy towards the end that saves him from being a cookie cutter mob guy. Again, I read it through in 2 days and it didn't feel like I was reading overmuch and was done before I knew it. This book crosses over through westerns, action, family, suspense and mob-style Vegas seamlessly. There is a little strong language but as it deals with the mob you might expect that. Looking forward to the next one.
Damn good read! That’s all I have to say. I’m not much of a reader, I might read 5-7 books a year. I really enjoyed the authors approach and his writing style. A book needs to catch me in the first chapter or there is no chance of finishing it. Well done! In one segment the author wrote “Jim sleeved away his tears…” I found that this description was spot on for the type of character Jim is. The book is fast paced, which kept me up way past 11pm one night, tried to put it down, couldn’t. Eric did a great job developing the characters’ giving me, as a reader, a good look under the circus tent to establish the how and why of each of them. I would recommend this to everyone to read.
The Samaritan's Pistol is a page turner from the get go. I don't read many western-type books, nor do I review every book I read, but this book begged for a little bragging. Eric Bishop does an impressive job of hooking the reader in the first 2 chapters. From there, you can't read fast enough to keep up with the action and suspense. His characters are well developed so you love to root for them, or you love to hate them. Either way, you find yourself drawn in to their stories. The humble, quiet protagonist, Jim Cooper, is more than just a cowboy, but he is still a down home, salt-of-the-earth character. He is no underdog, but his strength and wits are put to the test when he comes up against mobsters reminiscent of the Al Capone era. His dead aim and quick thinking saved a man from death and put three of the henchmen in the ground. But this good deed would not go unpunished. Jim's Wyoming ranch and realistic small town are the perfect setting when the mob seeks revenge. As Jim gets involved with Larry, the man he saved, he discovers the only way to beat the mob may be to join them. They partner up with unique group to finish what Jim started the day he saved Larry. Bishop creates a compelling adventure and Jim is the perfect, likable hero, who'd really just rather be fishin' or campin'. This story is full of the good, the bad and the ugly, but Bishop will have you wondering who is who til the last page. Note: There is some realistic mafia/mobster language in the book, believable, but not extreme. Not for young readers.
I loved this book. I'm excited to read a sequel when it comes out. Great read!
Owen James Cooper — “Jim” to those who know him — is not a man to be trifled with. A rancher living in the heart of Wyoming, Jim carries with him the heavy burden of a pain-filled past. A best friend lost in Kuwait, in the Gulf War. His former flame, Sally, marrying another man without warning. Jim’s long accepted the loneliness of bachelorhood, his only companions the vast open wilderness, the stars and sky above, his horses, cattle, aged ranch hand Brody, and Sally’s son, Skinner, who works at Jim’s ranch. However, everything changes on the day that Jim meets Larry Lyons, former UCLA footballer turned con artist, and now, thief. The only problem is that Larry, and his friend Chris, stole from Vegas’s Faletto crime family. And now the Falettos want their money back. Enter Jim, thinking he’s on the trail of some big game, only to find that his quarry is in fact Larry, beaten silly, about to be executed by the Faletto boss’s two brothers and only son. When they draw on Jim, he shoots first and asks question later. Only, dead men tell no tales. Now, having unwittingly thrown his lot in with Larry, a wanted man, Jim knows there’s only one recourse. Strike first. Bring the fight to mafia. And maybe, just maybe, get away with the money. The Samaritan’s Pistol is a rollercoaster of a tale, part western, part thriller. And while the narrative is strong and briskly paced, sure to keep readers interested, the most compelling part of the book is the characters. Jim Cooper is a fantastic protagonist; complex, damaged, yet unyieldingly brave and dedicated to his principles. And a crack shot, no less. He’s also a man of paradoxes; he has virtually everything he wants in life, yet lacks the one that will make him complete: love. He’s a man who’s shackled by his past, yet dedicates himself to living in the present. Ultimately, Jim is impossible not to root for. He’s the hero this story deserves. The supporting cast, as well, is outstanding. Larry is hilarious, always quick with a quip, yet his character is much deeper. He has a powerful faith in God, and he’s unquestioningly loyal. Brody, as well, is a pleasure to read about. He pops off the page. It’s as if he’s Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” hiding away in retirement, grizzled and still with all his wits and skills about him, ready to take care of business before business takes care of him. Skinner is also very well-drawn; a headstrong young man who looks up to Jim like the male role model his own father (an excessively devout Mormon) isn’t, and would do anything to impress and protect his pseudo-father figure. Michael Faletto is also worth mentioning. Despite being the villain, the book does a wonderful job of humanizing him. Actually making you feel bad for him. Even though his brothers and son were about to murder Larry and Jim in cold blood, and Jim killed them in self-defense, Michael's emotional pain is so present and real over his loss that there was a part of me that actually wished things had happened differently. Not that Jim had been killed, but that somehow Michael could have been spared the death of at least his son, if not his brothers as well. Nevertheless, when it comes down to it, it’s clear that Michael Faletto is one bad man, and there’s never any confusion over which side to root for. It’s exceptional that Eric Bishop has managed to create this dynamic where even though I felt emotionally attached to Michael, I never wanted him to win. Now as for the ending, it was pretty close to perfect. There was a speech delivered in church by one of the characters that actually brought a tear to my eye. Not only did it provide good resolution for most of the characters, but it also set up the next book incredibly well. And it made clear that the next installment will have different challenges, as the bad guys adopt a whole new strategy. It left me champing at the bit to read the next one, which is exactly what it needed to do! It is worth mentioning that there were a few things that didn’t quite work for me, but they were all minor. I'm about to bring up a few things some may regard as spoilers, so... SPOILER ALERT! I'm not going to reveal the ending or anything like that, but there are some plot points I'll touch on, so if you don't want to know anything else, skip further down! Now, moving on, I would have liked to see Jim fight more to earn the affection of his love interest in the book. It felt like they came together too easily, like she fell right into his arms, and as a result I couldn’t quite buy the relationship until the last quarter of the novel. There was a particular scene between her and one of Jim’s family members where her character finally came to life for me. So at least it got there in the end, which was great. Also, Larry’s friend Chris, who participates in their plan, is set up early on as someone who might betray the rest of the group. This subplot never really panned out; instead, it was left as a dangling thread that will presumably be picked in the next book. Last, there was foreshadowing that the book was headed toward a particular showdown that never ended up happening. There was a moment where it looked like everything had gone to hell, where Jim was going to be forced into a big, climactic final battle. Yet, ultimately, this final battle was averted, and it felt like the easier route than actually going for that huge blowout. I couldn’t help but wonder how that confrontation might have played out. The book is intense, action-packed, with an unflagging, breakneck pace, and I felt like the avoided fight would have been the ultimate capper to an amazing thrill ride. Nevertheless, it doesn’t detract from what’s otherwise an amazing read and an excellent ending. Okay, SPOILERS DONE! I never read westerns, and only occasionally crime thrillers, so suffice it to say that The Samaritan’s Pistol took me completely by surprise. When I decided to do a review, I figured I’d end up recommending it to those who liked gunslingers, westerns, and rural settings. After finishing the book, I can unequivocally say that absolutely anyone who likes good fiction and strong characters should give it a try. I never thought I’d get so drawn into the world of Jim’s ranch, considering I’d much rather be in a Starbucks than outdoors, roughing it. But the specificity of detail in regards to the day-to-day of the ranch was actually a huge advantage. As a complete layperson, it made this unfamiliar world accessible and even fascinating. So, even if at first glance it might not seem like your usual read, give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed
Filled with action and suspense, this Rocky Mountain Thriller is also full of characters you can't get out of your head. Jim Cooper is a good-natured cowboy who, in spite of his rough and tough exterior, is a push-over for anyone in trouble. When he stumbles onto a mob-hit in the Wyoming mountains above his ranch, his natural inclination to help catapults him into danger. The three Las Vegas mobsters turn on him as he tries to stop them from killing Larry Lyons. They don't realize who they are tangling with. Jim is a decorated Desert Storm veteran and a crack shot. When he saves Larry by shooting the mobsters in self-defense, Jim is now a mob target himself. This book pulled me along like a ride on a galloping horse as Jim fights to keep his cowboy way of life and his beloved ranch--and stay alive. Eric Bishop knows the cowboy life and it shows. His descriptions made me feel the sway of the saddle, the love of a great horse, and the stillness and beauty of the Wyoming mountain county. Add to this a sizzling romance and you have it all. A great book.
I just finished reading this book and must say it is excellent. A great story with amazing characters and terrific twists. It's everything a good book should offer and more. Once I started reading it I could not put it down. Can't wait for the next book.
Eric Bishop blends Western and Thriller into an enjoyable and satisfying thrill ride across the West. His word choice will make you stop and smile, painting a picture as clear as a photograph at times. (Just take a look at the book's title, for example.) The characters are varied and believable; I had a hard time picking a favorite. The Samaritan's Pistol kept me turning pages and dreading the times I had to put the book down. I can't wait to read more of Bishop's works.