Review by ciecheesemeister -- The McCoys Before The Feud

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Review by ciecheesemeister -- The McCoys Before The Feud

Post by ciecheesemeister »

[Following is a volunteer review of "The McCoys Before The Feud" by Thomas McCoy.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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I am reviewing The McCoys: Before the Feud by Thomas A. McCoy. The author is a descendant of the McCoy family involved in the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud. This book is a fictionalized account of an incident which took place along the Kansas-Missouri border after the Civil War. The story falls into both the Western and historical fiction genres.

Near the end of the Civil War, Tommy McCoy receives an urgent letter from his former fiancée Terry, imploring him to come to her ranch as soon as he can. In the letter, she mentions goods which have been stolen from Southern citizens by Northern soldiers. Tommy asks his soldier kinfolk to pass the message along to their other kin regarding a meeting at Terry’s ranch. When the group meets, they agree that it is the right thing to take back their stolen property from the Northerners, who are stationed in four different locations along the Kansas-Missouri border. The story details the espionage and plunder of these encampments by the McCoy men, as well as describing their rebuilding and homesteading activities at and near Terry’s ranch.

I give this book three out of four stars. The aspect of the story I liked best was the author’s obvious passion for the history of his ancestors. However, that passion tends to be overwhelmed by his methodological and overly detailed style. He spends a great deal of time detailing every move the men make in their spying and eventual attack on the Northern camps. Very little is said about how the characters are feeling, and there is little exchange between the characters which does not involve technical details. I sometimes felt as if I was reading an incident report rather than an adventure.

The author tends to run together narrative and dialogue in the same paragraph. The story would flow better if there were a paragraph break whenever a character starts and stops speaking. However, the thing I disliked most about the story is the cavalier way in which head injuries are treated. Unfortunately, most of us have learned from movies and television that a blow hard enough to render a person unconscious is a minor injury and the person will wake up unharmed. This is untrue. A blow to the head hard enough to render a person unconscious will cause a concussion at the least and can sever blood vessels in the brain, causing a hemorrhagic stroke and death. I wish that writers would research the real outcome of a hard blow to the head before employing this plot device in their narrative.

Overall, I would not mind reading another book by this author. I appreciate his commitment to his characters and to the real history behind the fiction. His stories would benefit from more emotion and less technical detail.

The McCoys Before The Feud
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Post by esp1975 »

Commitment to real history is great, but it is characters that drive a story. It is too bad you felt the emotional connection was not there.
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Post by Neelam15 »

I would agree with the part of details being missing about the feelings of characters. I couldn't feel connected to any.
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