The kind of western novel Dwight “Buc” Keene likes is bigger than he expected.
Keene, a first-time novelist with his “The Kind of Western I’d Like to Read: Part One: East of the Pecos,” realized his trilogy had become a four-part-series after recently releasing Part Two, “Hope Deferred,” in paperback, hardback and as an e-book.
“I found it ended on another cliff hanger,” Keene said of book three, “Desire Realized Is the Tree of Life.”
“It's too good of a place to not end it there."
His series follows protagonist Colton in the post-Civil War West Texas as he attempts to win the heart of local girl Suzanne while overcoming obstacles of the Wild West at large. In book one, a series of events leads Colton to follow Suzanne to St. Louis to surprise her, but he finds other suitors waiting. Feeling disappointed, Colton pursues a missing woman, which leads him to break up a human trafficking ring and befriend a woman who begins to fall for him. He returns home to Texas to meet up with his brother Sonny who brings him a letter of remorse from Suzanne. However, the news comes right before a group of angered Comanche Indians seek to kill Colton.
Book two, Keene said, is probably the most fun of his series with a lot of adventure and fun packed inside and heaviest on the romance.
“Hope Deferred” picks up from the attack and switches between Colton's and the Indians' perspectives in the beginning.
Keene said he added some historical elements to the book by including real places like the stage stations from Fort Stockton, Texas, to Yuma, Ariz., and real people like Carlota of Mexico whom Colton travels with for a good portion of the book leading to more confrontations. As tradition, Part Two ends on a cliffhanger but a somber note.
“The reader knows something bad has happened but they don't quite know where Colton has ended up,” Keene said.
All of Keene's writing serves as an homage to his love for westerns he grew up with in books and movies. Since releasing his first two books, Keene has reedited and released “East of the Pecos: Part One.”
He says the books aren't intended to be a Christian Western novel, but a Western written by a Christian author and centered on the Christian worldview of the country at the time.
Book III, “Desire Realized Is the Tree of Life,” is compiled into three parts from the perspectives of Colton, Sonny, and Suzanne and Cathareen, the girl Colton rescues from the human trafficking ring. So far, he hasn't named Part IV yet.