22 May 2010

SIN KILLERS: THE BERRYBENDER NARRATIVES Book One - Larry McMurtry, narr Henry Strozier

From the back of the BOCD: The author of THE LAST PICTURE SHOW and TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, Pulitzer Prize-winner Larry McMurtry has thrilled readers around the world with his critically acclaimed tales of America's great past. Bold and adventurous, SIN KILLER is the first installment of a major four-volume series that explores the untamed West as it was in the 1830s.

The Berrybenders are a family of English aristocrats making their way up the Missouri River to see the vast lands they've heard so much about. Dauntless and well-equipped, yet plainly out of place, their entourage is prepared for the many hardships and dangers that may be lurking. But nothing can prepare them for Jim Snow, the handsome frontiersman and part-time preacher with an eye on Tasmin, the Berrybender's vivacious young daughter.

With a cast of colorful characters--from Indian chiefs to European painters to reclusive mountain men--set against the sublimely beautiful backdrop of the American frontier, SIN KILLER blends light comedy with high adventure for a thoroughly satisfying listen. Featuring a stellar reading by narrator Henry Strozier, this masterpiece is sure to be relished by listeners form all walks of life.


This was a good listen, but I have to admit I admire McMurtry's LONESOME DOVE series much much better. I can't remember ever wanting to reach inside the book and smack any of the characters as much as I wanted to smack some of the Berrybender family around. Lord Berrybender was the worst. As a wealthy member of the English aristocracy, he was used to having everything in his whim made so and quickly. One part that had me laughing as much as wanting to smack upside the back of his head with a castiron skillet was his demand that his valet go up and herd the antelope closer so that he could ensure a better shot. And he wanted to know why someone hadn't thought to landscape the prairie with more bushes so that he had someplace to hide behind for hunting.

I felt so bad for the American frontiersmen and ship captain for all that they had to put up with these fops.

Tasmin had more sense than her father and most of her family, but not as much as she should have had to navigate the frontier alone as she thought she could. She mostly wanted escape from her family and Jim Snow, Sin Killer, was her answer. Jim Snow is amenable for the most part, but it has to be on his terms and his are pretty harsh. He's a good person, but he has rules he lives by and Tasmin has to follow them, too.

I will likely listen to the rest of the series or read them since DH and I collect all of McMurtry's books, but it's going to be a while before I will be ready to put up with more of the Berrybender antics.

Four frontier beans....


Mary said...

You've made me curious! I think I'll wait for you to read the second book and tell me if you think it's worth it ;) And, I must say, those beans do have a bit of the frontier look to them :D

Vickie said...

Mary: Don't they, though? I love this look.
I'll probably bump up the second one up on the RecordedBooks wishlist as I decided I am curious about what is going to happen to this family.