Justice Beyond the Trail’s End by Alfred Patrick

Justice Beyond the Trail’s End starts with young Joshua Parker working on his family farm. He plans to join the Union Army but knows his father will disapprove, mainly because he is needed on the farm. Josh though is looking for adventure and can’t imagine being stuck on the farm for the rest of his life. He decides he is going to leave but won’t tell his family. Josh does want to say goodbye to Becky who he is kind of sweet on. At the church social, he tells her he is leaving to join the Union Army to fight in the Civil War. It doesn’t go the way he expected. She can’t believe he is doing this and tells him she never wants to see him again. Joshua doesn’t know how to react to this but leaves for the army without even telling his family what he is doing.

At 17, he is about the adventure but as a sharpshooter for the Union, the realities of the war soon touch him as one of his closest friends is killed right before his eyes. This matures him and though he still wants adventure, after the war, he returns to his family hoping that maybe things can continue with Becky. However, he finds out that she has married his brother. This is another blow to him and he realizes that things can never be the way they were before he left. He is crushed and to make matters worse Becky continues to be flirtatious. He is still adjusting to everything, but does not want to hurt his brother and he also senses his father is still upset him. Backed into a corner, he again leaves his family, this time heading to Wyoming to be a U. S. Marshall. His adventures continue.

This is Patrick’s second book and he kept me engaged throughout with a mixture of adventure, suspense and romance. Josh grows up and you are rooting for him as he tries to conquer the west. As a youngster, I read quite a few westerns and loved the adventure and historical aspects. This book brought that feeling back to me and I enjoyed riding with Josh on the trails, walking with him in the streets of the town as he maintains order and seeing him fall in love. As Patrick has us travel with Josh, through all his struggles and the extreme pain of love lost, I was rooting for him. This book moves quickly and you get a sense of the heart of a young man who finds himself in the midst of the adventure of the old west. It was fun to be a part of the adventure and you feel Josh’s joys and his pain. If you enjoy a good story, which reminded me somewhat of the novels of Zane Grey, check out Justice Beyond the Trail’s End.

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