Item description for Shalom On The Range by Michael S. Katz...
Shalom on the Range portrays the romantic Wild West with historical accuracy, realistic action, and irreverent humor. David Goldstein is a railroad detective investigating a train robbery near Denver, Colorado in 1870. His journey exposes him to different forms of anti-Semitism and makes him question his preconceived notions of what it means to be a Jew and a human being.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6" Height: 1.3" Weight: 1.15 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2007
Publisher Strider Nolan Publishing
ISBN 1932045694 ISBN13 9781932045697
Reviews - What do customers think about Shalom On The Range?
Who Really Won the West? Jul 9, 2008
When David Goldstein, a detective for the Kansas-Pacific Railroad, is assigned to investigate a train robbery in Colorado which took the lives of 22 people, he has high hopes of making a name for himself and furthering his career with a successful resolution to the case. It is his first visit west of Kansas, and while he expects to encounter anti-Semitic sentiment and outright prejudice because of his race, he is also hoping to forge connections with a successful Colorado Jewish businessman based solely on their shared religion. Unfortunately for David, that connection is harder to make than he imagines and will have to be based on his personal merits, rather than his race.
Readers will find David an endearing, though sometimes bumbling character, a "tenderfoot" whose knowledge of the West comes mainly from his dime novel reading--which he calls "research." He has the not-uncommon fault of picking out flaws in others, without recognizing them in himself. Therefore, he is quick to take offense at insults to his Jewish race, but doesn't recognize that his own preconceived notions are just as offensive to others. To David, Germans are "hardworking, industrious, fair, and very clean." The Chinese all run laundries, and the Irish could make much of themselves "if they weren't so tempted by alcohol." David puts his foot in his mouth repeatedly, to the point where he ends up defending himself from accusations of racism. This is when one of his new companions assures him, "You're not a racist. You're just not very good with people."
And the West is filled with all varieties of people--Jews, Germans, Swedes, Ute Indians, Apache, Chinese, former Union soldiers, buffalo soldiers, and even a Southern belle-turned Pinkerton spy. David's search for the train robbers takes him across Colorado and into New Mexico, in the company of the tracker he hired, sharpshooter Red Parker, and Red's chosen partners, the dim-witted Jake and the sharply intelligent Ute Indian, Harvey White Crow. Along the way, readers will encounter a fascinating backdrop of Western history, neatly woven into a story which is part Western, part comedy, and part detective story. Because behind all the shoot-outs and ambushes, there is also a mystery: How much money did the train robbers actually take from the train? Who hired them? And which one of David's companions might have more up his sleeves than his arms?
An Unlikely Hero Mar 9, 2008
In the summer of 1870 one of the most brutal train robberies in history takes place on the Kansas Pacific Railroad as it makes its way toward Denver. Interestingly, nobody seems to give much of a damn- not the US Army, even though one of its officers is involved, not the hastily-formed posse that turns back because of rain after only a few hours search, not the poisonously anti-Semetic owner of the railroad James Byrne, not even the businessman who lost all the money.
With twenty people dead and an untold fortune up in smoke, who does Byrne turn to to solve the crime? Why, a lone, virtually untested Eastern Jew with a bum knee who can't ride a horse or shoot a gun, of course.
Meet David Goldstein, railroad detective. Whip-smart and with the deductive skills of a Sherlock Holmes, Goldstein trots gingerly through this highly imaginative adventure novel being misjudged and under-valued by everyone.
David doesn't even place a high value on himself in such unusual surroundings and spends $2,000 of his own money to hire two bounty hunters, the highly skilled and cynical Red Parker and Jake Beckett, whose golden tresses remind folks of George Custer and whose powers of reason remind them of Custer's horse. They soon pick up the taciturn stone killer Ute Indian Harvey White Crow, who may or may not have been adopted into a Jewish family when he was a boy, and the beautiful and mysterious Pinkerton agent Elizabeth, who refuses to reveal her last name. This is the Unlikely Bunch that sets off across the prairie to capture the train robbers.
Michael Katz's "Shalom on the Range" is a historically-correct adventure tale made even more enjoyable by his enormous powers of observation. His precise description of the saloons, with their faro tables and four-card monte games, puts the reader in the middle of the action. Katz has a keen eye for the clothes, weapons and horses of the Old West, an eye that often reveals the humor that ripples through the book just under the surface. For example, the dark-haired David runs into more blonds than an Abba concert in Stockholm. Two of the robbers are blond, the Army lieutenant is blond, David gets thumped by a blond giant at a saloon, Elizabeth is blond and so is Jake. Even Jake's horse is a Palomino.
The book has a serious side as well, especially when David and Red get into discussions of the life of the eternal outsider, the Jew in the 19th century American West. It also has moments of extreme violence, especially when White Crow is around, that might make the reader want to think twice before reading the book out loud as a bedtime story.
"Shalom on the Range" is a great read with enough off-kilter and likeable characters to make you turn the pages and care very much what happens. Will we see David and Red again? Sure hope so.
Shalom On The Range Jan 1, 2008
I am not an avid reader of western novels, but just the title of this book piqued my interest, and as a resident of the area of the Wild West in which Michael Katz' Shalom on the Range is set, I wanted to see if he got it right historically. I quickly found that not only did he get it right, his plot was well researched, his polished writing style and his excellent character descriptions hooked me into the story to the point I couldn't lay the book down. The reader will wonder how the young railroad investigator-- an ignorant, and sometimes arrogant Jewish tenderfoot from Philadelphia, can possibly survive until the next page in his quest to bring the bad guys to justice, even with the able help of the grizzled old bounty hunter and his insulting and comical side-kick, along with the pretty female Pinkerton detective and stoic Indian tracker, all trying to keep him alive and out of trouble from one wild, guns blazing confrontation to the next. Train robbers, good Indians, bad Indians, a biting horse and saddle sores, the action never stops. Mr. Katz also does an excellent job of informing the reader of the ethnic prejudices of the time and the huge part played by the early Jewish merchants in opening up the primitive and lawless territory that has become(more or less civilized)modern Colorado and New Mexico. Part detective story, part shoot-`em-up, part history with some unexpected twists that will surprise, Mr. Katz has given us a fun read, and I'm looking forward to the sequel he has promised.
Charles L. Lunsford Author of Departure Message & Boxcar Down: The Albanian Incident
A blend of humor and adventure that reads like Harlan Coben on horseback Oct 12, 2007
A well-written novel. Katz creates characters who sound and act like real people and writes with an impressive level of description, almost cinematic. Historical detail paints a vivid picture of the time period but sometimes slows things down in the first few chapters, which are relatively short. But once the main heroes meet--David, Red, Jake, and White Crow--the author kicks in his spurs and the book takes off on a wild ride of non-stop twists, turns, and cliffhangers. I would compare the writing style to Harlan Coben, but with more emphasis on the characters. Highly recommended. Once you start reading, you won't be able to stop!
A balance between action and introspection interweave in this exceptional tale. Oct 7, 2007
Shalom on the Range is a historical western novel about a Jewish detective in 1870 Colorado. Assigned to investigate a train robbery, David Goldstein will have to call upon his wits, his muscles, and the aid of his companions - including an ex-Union soldier, a near-silent Ute Indian, an equal-opportunity bigot, and a woman who claims to be a Pinkerton detective also assigned to the case. In the process of unraveling the mystery, David will face off against anti-Semitism, moral quandaries, and ultimately, have to confront what it means to be a detective, a Jew, and a human being. A balance between action and introspection interweave in this exceptional tale.