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Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
Johnstone has done it again! True to the tradition of great Western novels, "Butch Cassidy, the Lost Years" is a gem. The premise of the novel is: What if Butch Cassidy had lived? And, had he lived, how would his story have played out? Johnstone is so convincing in his tale that most readers will accept the tale as an original and pass it on as fact. Butch, who was known as Robert Leroy Parker by those who truly knew him, had a rich history as an outlaw. He is said to have died in a shootout but the author speculates that while the Sundance Kid died, Butch Cassidy went on to live a rich and fulfilling life. As the story opens, a young man approaches a man named Hank Parker, asking about things he has found in the estate of his grandfather who has researched famous gunslingers. Parker then begins to weave a tale which leaves more questions for the young man than it does answer.
The story takes place at the turn of the century at about the time of the first World War. It is told in retrospect and is absolutely charming in its detail of the time as well as in the development of the various colorful characters. Parker himself is a highly convincing story teller who just exudes charm and confidence. His sense of adventure combined with a strong sense of poetic justice captivates the reader and leaves us wondering what really separates the good guys from the bad guys. Kudos for another great Western!