Best Stories of the American West Edited by Marc Jaffe, Forge, $25.95, Hardcover; 888-330-8477.

beststoriesThe 20 short stories in this first volume vary from a 1953 Elmore Leonard reprint to more contemporary stories set in the “new” West.  The topics range from bush pilots to Alzheimer.

The best stories in the collection: one about an aged Comanche demanding a rancher’s pet buffalo for the purpose of killing it in remembrance of the old days. The shocking and sad tale of a man and his young son lost in a mountain blizzard. And the poignant story of an old Hollywood stuntman losing his dignity as well as his independence in a nursing home. The writing is outstanding and memorable, even though cruelty, loss and desperation are showcased. This collection will leave readers with much to think about. What is missing, though, is hope.  —Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza

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