“Moody, memorable tales powered by human struggle, tenacity, and an unshakable sense of survival.” – Kirkus Reviews
In his latest collection of short stories, J. Reeder Archuleta offers stunning, earnest, and sometimes heartbreaking glimpses into the lives of everyday people in the American Southwest. The Best Good Horse (Izzard Ink Publishing, July 26th 2022, Original Trade Paperback, ISBN 9781642280777, $19.95) captures the struggle of what it means to live as unapologetically as possible, one day at a time, from the perspective of the people who are commonly overlooked. Readers of Archuleta’s previous works may recognize a few of the names and faces, but there is no need for familiarity. Each story extends an invitation to briefly join them, sit down, and listen. They never overstay their welcome, often leaving the reader with a sense of contemplative melancholy or bittersweet amusement.
In the title story, an old cowboy befriends the daughter of a ranch cook and becomes her protector as she grows up. In the opening tale, “A Prayer to St. Michael”, a World War II spy tries to adjust to living with human depravity in a small Texas Town. “Imperfections” is an empowering and brutally honest story of an indigenous prostitute who rises above her abusive situation in a show of bravery, strength, and cunning. No two stories are the same, all managing to capture a unique time, place, and emotion. Some provide a sense of sweet innocence and some show how quickly that can be lost. Not every ending is happy, but readers can find solace in the shared human experience each has to offer.
“In addition to the character-forward approach to storytelling evident in each entry, the tones and moods work together to craft tales that are distinct from one another, despite their similar themes of aging, missed opportunities, and the rediscovery of inner strength… Throughout, the stories of The Best Good Horse brim with intense feelings, but are also rooted in the fact that reality can be both unpleasant and peaceful.” – Foreword Review
About the Author
Reeder Archuleta was raised in Texas close to the Mexican Border, and five generations of his family are in their final resting place there. His great-grandfather is buried in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso, Texas, withing spitting distance of the grave of John Wesley Hardin. Archuleta has authored three books: Rio Sonora: A Story of the Arizona Rangers, The El Paso Red Flame Gas Station and Other Stories, and his latest work The Best Good Horse.
The Best Good Horse and Other Short Stories
By J. Reeder Archuleta
Izzard Ink Publishing
Publication date: July 27th, 2022
Original Trade Paperback / Hardcover / eBook
ISBN (Paperback): 9781642280777
Price (Paperback): $19.95