Editorial Review: Wade Garrison The Last Ride by Richard Greene
After his brush with death Wade Garrison has kept his promise to God and his wife never to pick up a gun again. However, when bank robbers kill his old friend Sheriff Harry Block, and everyone turns to Wade for justice, he has a difficult choice to make.
The Last Ride is set a year after the shocking events of Atonement and sees Wade living a simple life with his wife and children on his ranch. His peace is shattered when bank robbers kill the Sheriff of Harper and ride off with the town's money. Wade is torn between keeping his promise never to pick up a gun or take a life again but worries that his son will think that he is a coward if he doesn't go after the bandits. Eventually, Wade gives in and sets out on one last ride with Pup, his coyote, and the sheriff's nephew, Robert Zimmerman, in tow. Robert is eager for justice, but Wade knows better than anyone about the cost of vengeance.
Over the course of the previous three books, readers have seen Wade Garrison grow from being a naive young man to a veteran lawman. However, even with all the lives that he has had to take, Wade has never lost his humanity or compassion for others, which is one reason why he is such a compelling protagonist. The Last Ride harkens back to Wade's journey in the very first novel, Wade Garrison's Promise, as he is once again on the trail of a dangerous posse. His quest to track them down also takes him through familiar territory, which is quite nostalgic for readers who have been following Wade's adventures from the start. Thankfully, the book never feels like a rehash of the original, and it is interesting to see Wade reflect on the first novel's events.
Wade has been through a lot throughout the series and knows how to handle himself, but traveling with the inexperienced Robert Zimmerman adds some extra tension to the tale. Robert is a city slicker from Chicago who came to see his uncle to find out if ranching is more exciting than working at his family's bakery. Unlike Wade, he hasn't been put to the test yet when it comes to gunfights, and his thirst for justice leads to a lot of rookie mistakes along the way. In addition, Wade and Robert encounter plenty of other dangers along the way, making it hard to predict what will happen next. The dynamic between these two characters, who are very different on the surface but actually have a lot in common, makes for interesting reading.
The Last Ride can be read as a standalone novel, but fans of Wade Garrison, who has read the entire series, will get the most from this book. As Wade trails the bandits, he encounters many familiar faces along the way, and some of these reunions are heartwarming, while others are heartbreaking. As mentioned earlier, there is a feeling of nostalgia that permeates this book, so reading the previous novels first comes highly recommended.
All in all, The Last Ride is a great western novel and another great entry in an exceptional series. Richard Greene continues to impress with his captivating yet straightforward storytelling skills, and it is easy to get so engrossed in the story that the chapters fly by in what feels like a heartbeat. Fans of Wade Garrison will know precisely what to expect from The Last Ride as it doesn't disappoint.