Wyatt: Doc Holliday’s Account of an Intimate Friendship – Dale Chase (Bold Strokes Books)

Buy it direct from Bold Strokes Books

Not many people know the Old West as thoroughly as Dale
Chase. Her love for and connection with the setting seeps through every page of
her Western fiction, enriching the reader’s experience. In this, her first
erotic western, Chase finds the heart in the alcoholic, consumptive, lusty Doc
Holliday as well as the aloof, distant and very married Wyatt Earp. 

They meet in Dodge City and then move west to Tombstone, where
they become involved with the gang of rustlers they will eventually meet at the
O.K. Corral. Earp, Holliday and Earp’s brothers were arrested and charged with
murder but eventually cleared. Morgan Earp’s murder took Wyatt and Holliday on
a vendetta that also saw them forced to run to Arizona, where their
relationship changed.

Chase’s prose reeks of trail dust, campfire ash, and cowboy
sweat, and there’s nothing like those ingredients to set a scene. Chase has
inhabited this territory so long that she has no trouble with bringing the dry
arroyos to life, much to her readers’ delight. And she populates them with
fully-fleshed characters.

Much has been written of Holliday and Earp as well as their
relationship, but Chase’s take is as plausable as any other. Why shouldn’t
it have happened? Is it historically accurate? I guess that’s not my primary reason for reading something like this.
If it’s in the ballpark, timewise, I’ll ride with it. If it’s not the gospel truth,
Chase tells it as if it is.

Speaking of telling, that’s what you come to a book like
this for—the story. And Chase does a superlative job here as well. Nicely paced
between exposition, erotica and action scenes (though those last two might be
combined), Wyatt never falters in delivering the goods. But where Chase
shines is in the long haul. Her characters become so rich, so real after a time
that you forget the movie portrayls of these legends and they become someone
else entirely. By the time we get to Morgan’s murder, I felt like I knew the
players so well, I was almost affected as they were.

Chase also does a great deal with rather terse dialogue.
Those boys weren’t known for their eloquence, but Chase makes every line, no
matter how innocuous, count. This is especially true for Deadpan Doc Holliday,
who understates every threat he makes—clearly, the author is having fun with
this.

And what’s wrong with a little fun? Too often, books are not
fun. They’re “searing” or “harrowing” (adjectives I thought applied to meat and
fields, respectively), and no one has the facility to just tell a story. With
good guys and bad guys. And love. And sex.

And in that, Wyatt is a winner. 

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©, 2012, Jerry Wheeler

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