Rio Bonito Cover

Rio Bonito

Rio Bonito book blog tour promotion banner


Categories: Western / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Five Star Publishing
Pub Date: August 18, 2021
Pages: 336 pages

Scroll for Giveaway!


Rio Bonito cover

With Lincoln County teetering on the edge of lawless turmoil, small rancher Wes Bracken avoids taking sides, but his goal is complicated by his devotion to what he sees as justice and by his friendship with William H. Bonney, who’s developing a reputation as Billy the Kid.

As Lincoln County devolves into explosive violence, Bracken must skirt the edge of the law to guarantee the survival of his family, his spread, and his dream. But dangers abound from both factions for a man refusing to take sides. Before the Lincoln County War culminates on the banks of the Rio Bonito during a five-day shootout in Lincoln, Bracken is accused of being both a vigilante and a rustler. As the law stands idly by, Bracken’s ranch is torched, and his wife is assaulted by the notorious outlaw Jesse Evans. Survival trumps vengeance, though, as Bracken tries to outlast the dueling factions aimed at destroying him.

At every turn Bracken must counter the devious ploys of both factions and fight against lawmen and a court system skewed to protect the powerful and politically connected. Against overwhelming odds, Bracken challenges the wicked forces arrayed against him in hopes of a better life for himself, for his family, and for New Mexico Territory. And throughout it all, Bracken stands in the growing shadow of his sometime pal, Billy the Kid.

Ad: GET YOUR COPY! Billy the Kid rides in Rio Bonito, Book Two of the Three Rivers Trilogy

Add to goodreads button


Clueless Gent’s Rating for Rio Bonito

4.5 star rating

Rio Bonito is a very enjoyable and entertaining read. The characters and their relationships push this story beyond the summit where similar stories end. The story is set in the mid-1800s, but the corruption it identifies is as much a part of our country’s story as the Civil War, the Gold Rush, and similar events.

The story follows our protagonist, Wes Bracken, as he tries to take care of his family, manage his ranch, and at the same time try to remain neutral in the corruption of Lincoln County, in the New Mexico Territory. Wes is usually accompanied by his right-hand man, Jace Cousins.

To add a little more meaning to this premise, Lincoln County is quickly becoming the most corrupt county in the nation, and Wes Bracken is known by many as the most honest man in the county.

I admit, corruption and lawlessness in the Old West is nothing new, but the premise is where any stereotype ends, in my opinion. I found the characters in this story, both good and bad, to be unique. However, the relationships between the characters is really what drew me into this story.

Wes and Jace appear in almost every scene, so by the end of the story the reader is pretty familiar with them. Although they are not kin, it is obvious that they are very close. The story does not identify how they met – or if it does I don’t remember it – but that may be covered in the first book of the trilogy. That being said, I also want to point out that this story is fully inclusive. I do not feel like I didn’t get enough information from this story to thoroughly enjoy it. I did.

The best way that I can describe the relationship between Wes and Jace is to compare it to the relationship between the characters of Charles Ingalls and Isaiah Edwards in the television series Little House on the Prairie. Indeed, it is a very special relationship, and it greatly contributed to my enjoyment of the story.

I thought the author had a remarkable was of keeping his description fresh. This is how Preston Lewis described one of the characters:

“A tall, lean man, he sat easy in the saddle with a carefree demeanor, though his brown eyes broached no nonsense and his lips had a peculiar curl at the corners as if he was always smiling. His cleft chin matched the gap between his two front teeth when he smiled.”

There are a number of characters that I encourage you to read about. Among them, William Bonney has more than just a minor role. In history, William is better known as Billy the Kid. I was very intrigued by Billy. I don’t know how much of his personality quirks were true, but they were sure entertaining.

My only criticism of the story is the ending. Although there was definitely a climax, I thought the ending was soft. However, it certainly paved the way for the third book in the trilogy. I will definitely have to read that one so I can find out how the Lincoln County saga really ends.

I received a free copy of Rio Bonito from Lone Star Book Blog Tours in exchange for my honest review. Opinions expressed are my own.

Image of Rio Bonito cover presented on a tablet, smartphone and paperback.

the Author

Preston Lewis Author Photo

Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 40 westerns, historical novels, juvenile books and memoirs. He has received national awards for his novels, articles, short stories and humor.
In 2021 he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters for his literary accomplishments. Lewis is past president of Western Writers of America and the West Texas Historical Association.
His historical novel Blood of Texas on the Texas Revolution earned a Spur Award as did his True West article on the Battle of Yellow House Canyon. He developed the Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series, which includes two Spur finalists and a Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award for western humor for his novel Bluster’s Last Stand on the battle of Little Big Horn. His comic western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin and two of his YA novels have won Elmer Kelton Awards for best creative work on West Texas from the West Texas Historical Association.
He began his writing career working for Texas daily newspapers in Abilene, Waco, Orange and Lubbock before going into university administration. During his 35-year career in higher education, he directed communications and marketing offices at Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Angelo State University.
Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and master’s degrees from Ohio State in journalism and Angelo State in history. He lives in San Angelo with his wife, Harriet.
1st: Signed copies of Rio Ruidoso & Rio Bonito;
2nd: Signed copy of Rio Bonito.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 9/17/21)
Rio Bonito tour giveaway graphic. Prizes to be awarded precede this image in the post text.
Or, visit the blogs directly:
9/7/21 Review Jennifer Silverwood
9/7/21 BONUS Promo LSBBT Blog
9/8/21 Excerpt All the Ups and Downs
9/8/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
9/9/21 Author Interview Chapter Break Book Blog
9/10/21 Review Julia Picks 1
9/11/21 Excerpt The Book’s Delight
9/12/21 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
9/13/21 Review Reading by Moonlight
9/14/21 Sneak Peek KayBee’s Book Shelf
9/15/21 Review Missus Gonzo
9/16/21 Review The Clueless Gent
Lone Star Lit logo
Blog Tour Services Provided By
Lone Star Book Blog Tours logo

Please leave a comment. You'll be glad you did!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

One thought on “Rio Bonito”