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March 17, 2005

May There Be a Road by L'Amour, Louis

Filed under: Fiction | Buy on Amazon

This collection of previously unpublished stories from the master of Westerns leaves you wanting something deeper.

Published posthumously by his daughter, this collection gathers ten of L'Amour's short stories, examples of some of his earliest and latest work. It includes a diverse range of stories, including boxing stories, a few mystery/detective tales, one story based in the Tibetan mountains, only two Westerns, and a longer piece from the Ponga Jim Mayo series, a character that may have been the inspiration for Indiana Jones.

While these are all well-told adventure stories, they lack the depth that allows literature to transcend barriers of place and time. The characters are consistently flat: Down and out good guy with something to prove and guts to match; underhanded bad guy with devious scheme; beautiful damsel in distress who falls for the good guy while in the clutches of the bad guy. It's a formula L'Amour rarely strays from, and it gets tiring, like watching a marathon of John Wayne movies.

In addition, the plots are often predictable, with the good guy winning and getting the girl to boot. It's your typical action movie, fun to watch, but absolutely nothing to take away. The dialogue is forced and the descriptions seem over done.

L'Amour can certainly tell a story. 90 novels and 23 short story collections prove that. Unfortunately there's not much more to Louis L'Amour.

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