Cody's Dream

Honoring his father's last wishes, Mel Cody, a Cree Half-Breed, travels over a thousand miles to visit the town of Polvo Gris in Arizona. Arriving in town, his plans include taking care of his tired horse and getting a feel for the area. He hadn't planned on getting involved when local thugs shoot an old man or on getting accused of being involved as a cattle rustler.

Earning the animosity of Casper Spool, the area's most powerful rancher, for his attempt to help Selwyn Church, Mel wonders if he's really in the town his father talked about so lovingly. His thoughts of leaving town are put aside when Rebecca Church arrives and finds out her uncle is dead.

Rebecca Church came to Polvo Gris hoping to start a new life with her uncle. Having just lost her father and closed their shop, she's not prepared for the news of Selwyn Church's death or to see the fighting taking place on the streets of town. Rebecca is strong-willed but knows nothing about taking care of cattle or about mending fences. Deciding to claim her inheritance anyway, she becomes a stumbling block in the path of Spool's advance across the territory.

Facing prejudice in town, Mel decides to stay and help Rebecca by earning his keep as her hired hand. He knows he can't leave her unprotected. With a mutual enemy and the odds stacked against them, will Mel and Rebecca stay together and fight for the land and each other?

Cody's Dream by Dan Carrel is a well paced and action filled story taking place in the American Southwest. The characters are well developed and the dialogue is easy to follow. It's a story full of cowboys, cattle rustlers, town's folk and a half-breed, which doesn't shy away from the racial issues of the time.

Mel Cody is an interesting character; half Cree Indian and half White, he's lived most of his life near his Cree relatives but is aware of the race issues he'll deal with in the Southwest. Having grown up hearing his father's stories about the wonders of Polvo Gris, he readily agrees to his father's request to check out the territory after his death. He never planned on getting involved in a cattle or land fight, or on being attracted to a woman he's just met.

Rebecca Church is an interesting character; raised in the city, she's already suffering from the loss of her father when she arrives in Polvo Gris and is faced with an ongoing fight between Mel and Casper Spool's men. Unaccustomed to brawling or gun fights; she's clearly overwhelmed and is in need of help to claim her inheritance. When the town doctor, Dr. McLane suggests she hire Mel Cody, she reluctantly agrees since she can't afford to walk away from her uncle's property. She didn't plan on falling in love with a hired hand.

While there is a light love story, between Mel and Rebecca, the main focus of this story is the ongoing fight between Casper Spool, his men and the people of Polvo Gris. The town sheriff is too old to enforce justice and everyone else is too terrified of the hired gunslingers to bring them to justice. It's kind of like one of the great spaghetti westerns of the 1960's where a stranger comes into town and has to make things right; Mel is the only one who's not afraid to bring justice where it's needed. I really liked how Mr. Carrel developed his character.

The secondary characters are of pivotal importance to the story, especially Dr. McLane, Sheriff Vaughn, Casper Spool and Budge Miner, Casper Spool's foreman who's more of a hired gun and a general snake. Budge is definitely one of those antagonists you know needs killing from the start.

The end of the story is full of action with a couple of gun fights and the capture of the real cattle rustlers. Will Rebecca and Mel survive and want to stay in Polvo Gris? You'll have to read Cody's Dream to find out. I really enjoyed it.

Book Blurb for Cody's Dream

Western Historical with Romantic Elements

Mel Cody, a Cree half-breed, journeys more than a thousand miles to visit his father’s Arizona homeland.

But upon his arrival, Mel intervenes when the local thugs shoot an old man cruelly in the street. The act earns him the enmity of the area’s most powerful rancher, Casper Spool, and Mel wonders if he really has reached the place he’d heard so much about. He considers leaving, but then Rebecca Church arrived in town.

Rebecca is a city girl, strong-willed, but more used to society life than mending fences and tending cattle. When she decides to stay and work a rundown plot of inherited land, she becomes a stumbling block in the path of Spool’s ruthless advance across the territory.

In the face of clear prejudice, Mel decides to help Rebecca by earning his keep as her hired hand. Now with a mutual enemy, and with odds stacked against them, they must stay together and fight for the land and each other.

Night Owl Reviews Aug, 2011 4.00