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Gunshy    by Louise Titchener order for
by Louise Titchener
Order:  USA  Can
Hard Shell, 2004 (2004)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Louise Titchener's Gunshy is more a novella than a novel. That statement is not a criticism - just a wishful desire for the book to be longer. Titchener is the author of more than forty books - and it shows. She has her craft down pat. This story takes place twenty years after the Civil War. Feelings about that conflict still run high and a convention of soldiers from both sides of that sad war are expected to gather in Baltimore.

Oliver Redcastle comes back to Baltimore to raise his motherless daughter in the house his aunt left him. He runs into his cousin Griff he and Griff were on opposing sides during the war. Three men are killed in a runaway train accident and Griff agrees to look into the matter. He is thinking of opening a private detective agency and this will put him right to work. Things get out of hand quickly, and personal relationships mingle with the professional. Action follows Oliver closely and the book is hard to put down.

I found the history of that time fascinating. It was easy to see in the mind's eye just what Baltimore looked like, what the citizens of that old city wore, and what their social mores were. The lifelike characters were a mixed amalgam of good and bad. Titchener writes mayhem with a practiced hand but also manages to convey softer happenings with grace and sensitivity. Gunshy is a book worth your time.

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