All the Cowboys Ain't Gone
by John J. Jacobson
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Date of Publication: February 23, 2021
Categories: Historical Fiction / Action Adventure / Western
All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone is the rollicking adventure story of Lincoln Smith, a young Texan living at the beginning of the twentieth century, who thinks of himself as the last true cowboy. He longs for the days of the Old West, when men like his father, a famous Texas Ranger, lived by the chivalric code. Lincoln finds himself hopelessly out of time and place in the fast-changing United States of the new century. When he gets his heart broken by a sweetheart who doesn’t appreciate his anachronistic tendencies, he does what any sensible young romantic would do: he joins the French Foreign Legion. On his way to an ancient and exotic country at the edge of the Sahara, Lincoln encounters a number of curious characters and strange adventures, from a desert hermit who can slow up time to a battle with a crocodile cult that worships the god of death. He meets them all with his own charming brand of courage and resourcefulness.
All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone was my first read that was set in this fascinating transitional period between when Texas Rangers were at large, but also when modernizations and technology were starting to take off. I loved that the beginning highlighted Lincoln as a boy growing up and fantasizing about his life of adventures and purpose, then just as quickly seeing his inspiration in action with the introduction of his father full out in all his cowboy ways. That introduction started the story off on such a strong foundation, that I was giddy to see who Lincoln became.
The entire plot was such a twist of a Western that I enjoyed it for its' uniqueness. It did take quite a few chapters, that initially had me a bit confused, before I finally found the full direction this story was taking me, but I did appreciate later the strong foundation that was being built. I did love Lincoln's strong momma and seeing her shine through him in everything he did from her teaching him Shakespeare to patience, love, and manners. Of course I saw the love of his father captured in so many of his actions as well, which made this such an enduring read. Lincoln was built up so well that you rooted for him during each roadblock he faced and boy was there a lot.
I loved that this was a worldwide adventure. An International Western was mind-blowing and a blast. The saying that you can take a boy out of the country, but can't take the country out of the boy rang true for All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone. Traveling around the world did not change Lincoln much at all, but brought a huge change in perspective that added varying themes and depth that could have not been accomplished if the author played it safe and kept this character close to home. Lincoln was tested from so many different angles and always came out resilient proving just how strong of a character he was built up to be.
I'd recommended this to anyone who loves a good mystery. All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone has everything that would satisfy lovers of more cozier mysteries all the way to those thrill seekers. All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone reminded me of a plot if Indiana Jones met Agatha Christie.
Though John J. Jacobson didn’t join the French Foreign Legion after being jilted by a girlfriend, or over his displeasure of missing the last great cattle drive, he has, borrowing Churchill’s phrase, lived a rather variegated life. He was born in Nevada, grew up in the West, surfed big waves in Hawaii, circled the world thrice, survived the sixties and seventies, corporate America, and grad school. Among other degrees he has an MA in Renaissance literature from Claremont Graduate University.
FIVE WINNERS each receive a print copy of
All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone.
(US Only. Ends midnight, CDT, March 19, 2021.)
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