Poetic Justice

MR Elliott James Murphy, Author
Elliott Murphy. Elliot Murphy Books, $14.99 paper (246p) ISBN 978-0-615-66909-0
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Just a boy when his father, John O’Keefe, is murdered by two treacherous men in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma, Petit Jean vows revenge. But when his mother starts drinking herself into a stupor, he is sent to New York to live with his uncle George, who runs a bordello. Growing up with his uncle, Petit Jean becomes an expert marksman, meets Walt Whitman, and eventually transforms himself into a gun for hire known as John Little—before returning to Oklahoma to find vengeance. Murphy’s western has literary themes—Whitman is a recurring character and moral touchstone for Jean, who reads poetry, However, the story is painted in overly broad strokes. Readers fond of the genre will find the book poorly researched, the plot scattered, the pacing slow, and the character arcs underdeveloped.
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