Beyond the Goodnight Trail


Fiction - Western
262 Pages
Reviewed on 10/25/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite

Beyond the Goodnight Trail by Roy V. Gaston is a boisterous Western novel filled with breathtaking adventure and action. Pete Horse is a former Texas Rangers scout who accepts the invitation of his friend, Charlie Goodnight, to go on a trail ride across Texas to New Mexico Bosque Redondo Navajo reservation. Pete knows these lands and is aware that it is infested with bandits and scum who will kill just anyone as long as they get something — or they just kill for the sheer pleasure of killing — so he expects to encounter a horde of night riding gangs and unfriendly Comancheros. What he never expected was to encounter factional groups fighting over a thousand stolen Army rifles. When he kills two men who attempt to steal his horse, he attracts the explosive wrath of a renegade sect leader and his followers. It is the beginning of a nightmare that could engulf the entire West.

Beyond the Goodnight Trail is written for anyone who loves Westerns. It is littered with action and well-described gunfights. Characters like Pete, Charlie, Bigfoot Wallace, Bass Reeves, Britt Johnson, and many others are well-developed. Roy V. Gaston plunges the reader into a world that is rife with conflict and chaos and gives readers the real definition of survival-of-the-fittest. The worldbuilding is wonderful and the story takes place in a setting that is not just rough but lawless. Beyond the Goodnight Trail is captivating and written in elegant prose. I enjoyed the way the author crafts the dialogues, mimicking the accents of the characters, and beefing up the plot with action. It is filled with adventure and fun; deftly plotted and skillfully written.

Maureen Dangarembizi

Beyond The Goodnight Trail by Roy V. Gaston is a western novel set in the 1860s. Pete Horse is a black former slave who has worked with the rangers as a scout. One day the burning eyes of an Indian boy remind him too much of his plight as a slave and the attacks that plagued his so-called free community. He quits, never to return. That is until his friend Charlie Goodnight comes after him a few years later. He needs a scout on the first cross country drive to Fort Belknap in the northern New Mexico territory. The drive is just as dangerous as he had expected. What he didn’t expect was Porter Higbee and his fellows trying to kill him for protecting his property. Add in a thousand stolen guns and you have a recipe for disaster.

Roy V. Gaston paints a vivid picture of the wild west in the 1860s. I felt I was there in the thick of things, rounding up cattle, sleeping under the stars in the wide-open spaces. Pete Horse is an unlikely hero who made the story unpredictable. There aren’t that many black men leading in western novels. I don’t know if this tale is historically accurate but it shows a different perspective to life before and just after the freedom of the black slaves. The men are passionate about protecting what belongs to them. Beyond The Goodnight Trail is a good story that teaches readers about the pioneers who built the United States of America. Every man had to be strong and make their own justice. I recommend this action-filled book for all ages.

K.C. Finn

Beyond the Goodnight Trail is a work of fiction in the adventure, historical drama, and western sub-genres, and was penned by author Roy V. Gaston. Written for mature reading and containing some scenes of violence pertinent to the brutality of the historical time period, this is a rip-roaring yet poignant adventure novel focused on former Texas Ranger scout Pete Horse. As Pete joins a group of other hard men of the frontier to help his friend complete a trail drive across Texas, many unexpected obstacles await them. So begins a fascinating exploration of the many dangers and wild beauty which the Texas Panhandle has to offer, as Pete does his best to survive it step by step.

Author Roy V. Gaston has crafted a western which will bring much satisfaction to those readers who want the action flowing non-stop in a tale. The plot is structured like a ‘road movie’, and so it delivers many unexpected twists and clever storytelling opportunities that the author exploits with style and flair every time. Yet one of the things which truly impressed me about the work was the depth of character also woven into this concise and fast-paced novel, allowing us to learn about an ensemble cast of other rough riders with much wisdom, charisma, and grit to share. The dialogue too was a highlight of the read, delivering authentic historical flavor as well as humor, darkness, and a sharp edge. Overall, I would certainly recommend Beyond the Goodnight Trail to fans of classic westerns with plenty of action-packed events to keep you on the edge of your seat.

Rabia Tanveer

Beyond the Goodnight Trail by Roy V Gaston is the story of a man as he learns that nothing is easy, especially when you go for a “trail drive” across Texas. When Pete teams up with his friend Charlie Goodnight to go on a trail drive, he expects the drive to be simple and easy. However, he soon realizes that what he thinks is easy is anything but that. There seems to be a tussle between the Native Americans and rebels who are both after stolen Army rifles. Pete has nothing to do with either of them, but somehow, he is roped into this mess. Before he knows it, he needs to restore peace in Texas before it is too late. However, Pete is an ex-Texas Ranger for a reason. Can he restore peace and get back to his trail drive?

If I’m honest, I didn’t understand the meaning behind the title of the novel at first. However, it all makes sense after the first couple of chapters. Pete is a smart man with flaws. He is not perfect, but he is not bad either. He and the other characters offer the perfect mixture of street smarts (or Wild West smarts?) to make a formidable team against the rebels and the Native Americans. The narrative runs smoothly throughout the story. The descriptions the author provides are vivid and heavily focus on imagery. This is a timeless, imaginative, and entertaining novel and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good action story. Really well-written.