In The Kid and Me, Frederick Turner deftly re-creates the Lincoln County War in what was then New Mexico Territory. The 1878 war pitted an established faction led by James Dolan against new arrivals in the county led by John Tunstall and Alexander McSween. When Tunstall and McSween opened a dry-goods store in 1876 in a direct challenge to Dolan’s monopoly on the dry-goods business, trouble was inevitable. Both the Dolan and the Tunstall-McSween factions garnered supporters, including lawmen, criminal gangs, and ranch hands. The ambush and murder of Tunstall by a local sheriff’s posse loyal to Dolan sparked a wave of revenge killings and bloody reprisals in which Billy the Kid—one of Tunstall’s ranch hands—played a prominent role.
Narrated by George Coe, an aged veteran of New Mexico’s Lincoln County War but now a devout painter of village churches, The Kid and Me tells what it felt like to ride alongside Billy the Kid, whom Coe both admired and greatly feared. Gang loyalty, extreme violence, political corruption in the highest places, and profound moral ambiguity characterize this tale of what made the American West wild.
Frederick Turner is the author or editor of several books, including The Go-Between: A Novel of the Kennedy Years and 1929: A Novel of the Jazz Age.
“The Kid and Me is an utterly original first-person account told in the hypnotic voice of the retired gunfighter crony of ‘The Kid,’ George Coe. This is a fascinating tale of a violent, lawless era in American history, with all the famous and infamous characters and events of the Lincoln County War rendered in Frederick Turner’s uniquely fluid style. At the end of this compelling novel, the reader is left with the satisfying sense that this, finally, is the true story of Billy the Kid.”—Jim Fergus, author of One Thousand White Women and The Vengeance of Mothers
“The Kid and Me is a masterwork of the imagination that accomplishes more authenticity in fewer words than Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man. This delightful new novel is a compelling means of following a fading trail back into the history of the American West.”—Ted Kooser, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Delights and Shadows
“Fred Turner is a gorgeous writer. . . . His storytelling dazzles again in this lush, original tale of the old West in all its guts and glory.”—André Bernard, author of Now All We Need is a Title