Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Saga of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid by John Buzzard
Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Saga of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is a telling of the events and the conflict leading to the ultimate confrontation between two legendary figures of the Old West.
Much of the book’s narrative follows the historical timeline of the Lincoln County Wars and assumes the reader is familiar with this turbulent period in the 1870's. This frees the author to launch readers straight into the action, with no need for exposition. The action, as it stands, is visceral. This was a bloody time, and the book does not hold back on it. While there is violence carried out by our leads, there is no attempt to apologize for their actions. Characters die with the rapid-fire frequency of a Gatling gun.
What comes across equally well is the portrayal of Pat and Billy. Neither are depicted as heroes or villains, but men trying to survive the situation they find themselves, with the line between law and order rather murky. While Billy is an outlaw, readers will feel some sympathy for the anger felt by him and his Regulators, particularly after key figures are cold-bloodedly murdered and justice is elusive. In contrast, Pat attempts to uphold the law while skirting the corruption of the times choosing to focus on his duties as a lawman and his charge to bring Billy in.
Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Saga of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid is an entertaining read with solid writing and a sharp, lean plot that doesn’t allow the reader to catch their breath until the last page. For those who are unfamiliar of these events in the Old West, John Buzzard’s excellent tale may inspire them to learn what became of Lincoln County and the Santa Fe Ring after the tale is done.
Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Saga of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid can be found here.