A Bullet for Two is Robert Strzalko's first novel. Known better for his works of Poetry, Strzalko goes in a different direction in this thrilling story. Taking place in the American West shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War, A Bullet for Two shows a gritty, dark, and realistic side of the West.
Real life is hard and unfair and there is not room for rose colored glasses in this novel. A Bullet for Two starts as Jeb, a Civil War Hero looking for a fresh start in the West, stumbles upon the gruesome raping of a young half Indian girl. The 3 corrupt men involved in the raping happen to be the town's Sheriff, Mayor, and local business tycoon. Jeb does what he feels is right and rescues the 14 year old Sara while bestowing revenge. Because of his actions, Jeb finds himself a Wanted Man with a bounty on his head. A Bullet for Two unfolds as Jeb and Sara run from the law, bounty hunters, and a posse made up of town men obsessed with seeking revenge for the murders.
Strzalko does a terrific job in developing his characters. Jeb feels a deep torment due to the part he played in the Civil War. After losing those most important to him and witnessing an overload of death and destruction, Jeb views society as an unforgiving, dark place where people take amusement in public hangings and use 'justice' to justify killing others. Sara, on the other hand, lost her parents at a young age and has been treated as a sexual slave and servant for too many of her 14 years. However, she still believes in happy endings and views Jeb as her savior. The loyalty she feels regarding Jeb is far beyond that of a teenager.
Strzalko did a fantastic job in showcasing just how lawless the 'Wild West' was after the Civil War. When the War ended many soldiers had nothing and no one to go back to. After witnessing and causing brutal deaths, many men felt the only job that suited their new outlook was that of a bounty hunter...thus, the influx of bounty hunters in the West. Many of the bounty hunters Strzalko wrote about lived outside the law. When coming upon a 'Wanted' man they shot first and asked questions later. Many times an innocent person was killed due to faulty identification. However, as long as is wasn't a sheriff or politician that was killed the bounty hunter didn't care about the unnecessary loss of life. They played the game and played it well.
Also brought to light in A Bullet for Two was the way the Native American population was viewed by the general public. Strzalko makes the argument that the US Government viewed the Godless Savages as an annoying group that had something they wanted- land. Instead of sending the Army in to get rid of the Indians and secure the land, the government saved money and sent homesteaders out to do the dirty work for them. Their basic advertisement was 'Free land in the West, you just have to get rid of the current owners.'
I highly recommend Robert Strzalko's A Bullet for Two. You will find a suspenseful and faced paced story revolving around the dark side of human nature.
This complimentary book was received for the purpose of review from BookPleasures.com.