Review by LallaGatta -- The McCoys Before The Feud

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Review by LallaGatta -- The McCoys Before The Feud

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[Following is a volunteer review of "The McCoys Before The Feud" by Thomas McCoy.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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I have picked up The McCoys Before The Feud by Thomas McCoy, believing it to be an historical fiction. Turns out it's more of a western, with much action, little character development, and even less history. This is the reason I can only rate this book 2 out of 4 stars.

In April 1865, with the Civil War officially over, the Union requires that every Confederate soldier reaches a designated surrender site in order to turn in his weapons, supplies, and equipment before being allowed to get back home. What the Union fails to publicize is that it has already looted and robbed the South blind of its most valuable possessions and hidden them away in Missouri and Kansas.

Thomas McCoy Jr. (Tommy) gets hold of the maps pinpointing the location of the five caches. He's determined to return the stolen goods to their rightful Southern owners. Since he cannot pull this off by himself, he decides to enroll the McCoy clan that has just fought in the lost war. He and his father, Thomas McCoy Sr., call a meeting, and everyone comes. More than that, they all agree to help Tommy and his father, for a profit naturally. So, the adventure begins, and the bet is whether they'll manage to carry it out without killing anyone.

The plot is an action-pack narration of how the raids of the various sites are planned, discussed, and executed. The military training of each McCoy becomes a key factor of the role he'll play during the different missions, but it's clear from the start that it has to be a team effort. So, the author brings his characters and his schemes together, but a series of fatal flaws has impaired my enjoyment of this tale.

For one thing, I have grown bored of the repeated assaults. The first is thrilling and suspenseful. The second is interesting and exciting. By the third, it’s dull and repetitive, and you still have two more to go. At that point, reading became a much harder affair!

The second thing that doesn't work for me is the character development, which is next to zero. The author is so preoccupied with moves and positions that he totally ignores his characters' sensations. Readers get to know them only from what they do, never from what they feel. There is such an emotional distance between the author and his creations that they come out as only two- dimensional, when not one-dimensional. Mr. McCoy should have dedicated a little more time and effort on character building and on social interactions. The result is that I couldn’t get close to any of them, not even the lead players, and that's very frustrating.

My third issue is with the genre. I have been hoping to gain some more insight in the period post-Civil War. Instead, I find myself in the middle of Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Well, not quite, yet such is the spirit of this book. So, not much of an historical fiction, The McCoys Before The Feud is a western with all the trimmings.

Finally, I don't think this book has been professionally edited, judging from the several typos I have come across. Although the style is pleasant enough, the author should have relied on professional help to smooth over his manuscript, get in-depth character analysis, and just make it better all-round.

I would not recommend this book. Fans of the western genre, however, might find it to their liking.

The McCoys Before The Feud
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