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FROM THE LISTENING HILLS: Selected Unabridged Stories, Audio
by Louis L'Amour
Random House Audio, April 2003
Unabridged Audio pages
ISBN: 0739302884

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This posthumous collection includes a diverse selection of short stories by one of the most prolific authors in American history. The title story, From the Listening Hills, tells the tale of the Tremaine brothers and the treachery that leads to their demise. Declared outlaws after a jealous neighbor accuses them of horse theft, the brothers are hunted down until only one of them remains alive. The last of the Tremaines recounts the history of their downfall in a letter to his unborn son as he lies dying in a cave, his pursuers only yards away and waiting for dawn to capture him. Fast paced yet poignant, this tale is typical of L'Amour's spellbinding accounts of the Old West. Down Paagumene Way takes place almost a century later. This is a World War II tale of spies and undercover agents with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. L'Amour packs a lot of action into a brief period of time with this story. Action is the keyword in Too Tough to Kill, the story of a man who witnesses a murder, then finds himself and his new bride being hunted by the killers. He survives a dunking in the river, then races against time to rescue his wife, kidnapped at gun point by the killers. A gold miner is bamboozled by a beautiful woman in Sand Trap. Knocked over the head and left to die in a burning house, the miner awakens to find the murdered body of the woman's husband lying near him. He escapes the house, but not the suspicion of murder. In a clever move, he proves his innocence when he traps the woman and her boyfriend in the desert of Death Valley. Moran of the Tigers is a somewhat dated football story featuring NFL player Flash Moran. Moran is asked to throw games by a competing team owner. He refuses to cheat, but a series of poor plays makes it seem as if he's sold out to the competition. Moran proves his innocence in an unusual way. In Anything for a Pal, a hitman tries to save a friend from jail by knocking off the only witness scheduled to testify against him. Unfortunately, the witness turns out to be his own brother. This is the shortest of the stories, and while somewhat predictable in its outcome, it packs a quick punch due to deft writing.

L'Amour shows his skill as a storyteller with this highly enjoyable collection. The varied voices of John Bedford Lloyd only increase one's appreciation of the author's work. Highly recommended for its variety of characters, settings, and plots.

Reviewed by Mary V. Welk, May 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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