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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Johnny And The Kid is a work of fiction that describes itself as “An Old Time Western” and was penned by author R. Lawson Gamble. This shorter work of fiction delivers a novella-length tale of action, adventure, hijinks and intrigue, all within an authentic Western setting and atmosphere. The story centers on the titular Johnny, who struggles to cope with just him and his mother making a living in the town of Deep Water. Two new figures arrive in town at different times, one apparently making things better, and the other a whole lot worse. So begins a tense interpersonal drama filled with mystery and secrets.
Author R. Lawson Gamble has created an excellent tapestry of intrigue in this novella, cutting right to the chase and allowing us to enjoy a fast-paced mystery with a lot of bang for its buck. Johnny is a likable everyman type hero, with plenty of naivety and a lot to learn on his journey into the world of gunfighters and those who meddle in their affairs. I loved the character development that gives us straight-up profiles and sets the scene of who is who really effectively. This leaves plenty of room for the story to unfold, and also for the characters' emotional arcs and their secrets to develop later in the plot too. Overall, Johnny And The Kid provides everything that a great Western read should have in terms of zippy dialogue, effective and cinematic atmosphere, and a series of intrigues that deepen to a really satisfying plot conclusion.