Half way there!
This month I challenged myself to try the Western genre. My thoughts on the Western genre are somewhat limited to John Wayne, the knowledge my Grandad liked them, and the fact that they’re the old man version of Mills and Boon books.
So with that in mind I, once again, tried to find something that was of the genre but something that I would enjoy. So by some incredible stoke of luck I found a book while shelving that was both a Western and a gay romance!
So, happy Comfort Zone Pride Month!
BOOK ONE: THE PINKERTON MAN
Stiles Langberry leaves England under the dark cloud of blackmail. He resettles in America with a new name, becoming a Pinkerton Agent. His new employer sends him undercover to a brothel that serves homosexual men, where prostitutes are being murdered.
In the course of his investigation, he becomes involved with Paul, one of the prostitutes. Complicating matters, one of the suspects draws Stiles like no man before him. Stiles knows he must stop the killer before he strikes again.
BOOK TWO: HOME ON THE RANGE
Pinkerton Agent Stiles Long is sent to the Circle W Ranch to uncover who is killing the ranch’s cattle. In order to discover the truth about the goings on at the ranch, Stiles has to prove to the ranchers he’s more than a good-looking city slicker.
Savage Beare, the head ranch foreman, is far from happy that Stiles is there to check things out. He has secrets of his own. Stiles finds Savage incredibly good-looking, but cold and aloof. He’s also a suspect. One of many.
When Stiles’ best friend and partner, Lizzie Ferguson, is kidnapped things begin to shake apart. Stiles doesn’t trust anyone and he needs to find Lizzie before it’s too late.
The book is a two-in-one novel that follows the life of Stiles Langberry as he makes his way to America after leaving the Scotland Yard. Once in the new colonies, Langberry becomes a Pinkerton Agent, which is pretty much a mix between private detective and police officer.
In addition to this I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the publisher, Wayward Ink Publishing was Australian! Sadly I appear to be a few years too late to join the bandwagon as they appear to be no longer operating 😥
Pinkerton Man Series wasn’t as tough to read as I thought, sure the stereotypes of westerns were there, the ranch, tough living, and rolling plains, but they were only small parts of the story. If anything I found the lack of consistent romantic interest more off putting.
Do not get me wrong, the book was a great read. I really enjoyed the two stories, I just felt like I was probably quick to jump the gun and call this a romance book. Certainly it was there but not in the traditional sense. If anything the romance and almost casual way in which Stiles interacts and engages with people was more of a challenge than the Western genre itself.
One thing that I will comment on, is the unspoken homophobia of the Western genre. There were no blatant and uncomfortable moments of homophobia in the Pinkerton Man Series, however the need to hide and historic ‘wrongness’ was present. The book starts with Langberry leaving England after he was outed at the Scotland Yard, Langberry’s previous lover had committed suicide after being blackmailed with their relationship, and there are obvious moments of self hatred present in the Savage Beare character.
I will be the very first to admit that I tend to stay away from very angsty and homophobic romance books. I tend to read for enjoyment and hate getting bogged down in things that will make me feel uncomfortable and upset.
I really enjoyed the Pinkerton Man Series. While selected for the fact that the book is a Western, I was more challenged by the nature of the romance and the historic representations of non heterosexual relationships. When I pushed through this discomfort, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the book.
In addition to this, I was incredibly shocked and happy to find out that the second book has just been published as well! For something that I picked up by chance while shelving at work, I am classing this a big success.
I am glad I decided to try reading a Western and even more happy with my book selection. Not only did I enjoy the book but I am going to continue with the series and read the next book 😀
Who knows, I may even actively look for more books like the Pinkerton Man Series, and try and find some of Western gay romances.