Wednesday, July 2, 2014


 Never by J. Grace Pennington

 I've read Grace's other books, her Science Fiction series with its Star Trek flair which I have fallen in love with. Every time I finished one of the books - all two of them - I wanted another. So when I saw her other book I was ready to snatch it up right off, until I saw it wasn't about Andi and the others and was a Western. I wanted another book with Andi, and Westerns aren't really my thing. So I put off buying it for a while and now I am sad I did.

 I keep mentioning, I think, that I have a love for brother stories. And if I haven't mentioned it, there, now you know. I suppose there is some philosophical reason behind this that some person could discover if they could get inside my head and somehow make it back out again. But I am not that person and I have divided so far into my own head I have no chance of making it back out, so you won't be able to find that deep and hidden meaning from me. Simply put, I love brother stories. Especially when the big brother is protective and always does his best to look out for his younger brother.

 That said, Never is one of the best in this department.

 The story begins with Travis Hamliton, a young rancher studying to be a teacher, is convicted of a murder his older brother Ross knows he didn't commit. Travis is sentenced ten years to the Dead Mines outside of town, mines no one ever comes back from, and if they do they come back changed and broken. Ross knows his little brother doesn't stand a chance making it back alive and is determined to clear his name. Meanwhile, Travis finds himself in the middle of something bigger then convicted convicts mining for coal and is slowly tortured in the hopes his spirit will break and he will give in to the demands being pressured on him.
 Both brother is about to be pushed to their limits and their only hope is to Never compromise.

 Besides the obvious of what I loved about this book, which I will get to, it had more to love than I first thought it would. It isn't one of those typical Westerns but had enough in it to make it feel Western without it trying to be another John Whyne story. 

 The mystery fit into something from the 20's. It felt like something out of a black and white movie where everyone is trapped in the house and one by one people are picked off. (Think And Then There Were None. Not quite the same, but it had a hint of that feel.) I didn't think a 20's murder mystery, complete with gangster feel, could fit with a Western, but the brilliant Grace pulled it off, which is little surprise anymore. Her writing continues to amaze me though I guess it shouldn't because I should be used to being amazed by now. Maybe.

 The characters were as brilliant as I have come to expect from her. I loved them all - or hated them as the case maybe have been. The villain was the kind to make my skin crawl, the kind I have to slam doors over, and some of the characters had those brilliant twists which are always fun to read.

 What I loved best though were Ross and Travis. 
 Travis was a sweet kind of character, the adorable little brother sort you wanted to love and protect and worry over. But he had this brave stubborn streak I adored and the bad guy hated, and his persistence to keep going - well, it hurt because he was in so much pain, but it had me cheering. 
 Then there was Ross. The big, strong older brother who did everything he could to clear Travis' name and save his life. I loved Ross, especially during the last few chapters. He is one of those amazing big brothers those of us without big brothers wished we had. 

 This is another book I will never stop recommending. And I am happy I own it in paperback because I enjoy re-reading paperbacks more than ebooks.

 You can find Grace's website HERE! were you can learn all about her other works.

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