Riding Shotgun: And Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch – A Review


Set in 1933, Riding Shotgun by Andy Rausch has an absolutely fantastic premise. Bored with his current lifestyle and possibly marriage, Emmett Dalton, a late 1800s bank robber that was shot 23 times during his last heist decides that he wants to go out with a bang! There’s only one catch, he’s now in his senior years and the rest of the Emmett Dalton Gang has long since died via the authorities or old age, and as we all know, it’s not a good idea to go robbing banks by yourself when you’re in your late 60s and 70s.



ridingshotgunIn order to realize his new (old) dream of robbing banks and to recapture his youth, he needs to find additional bank robbers. Thankfully, he’s been keeping track of the few old timers that are still alive, including Jimmy McDaniels.

After a long drive and a conversation full of drinks at ass-o’clock in the morning, Jimmy joins the crew, but he also wants to include Tom Picket, another senior and former bank robber. There’s only one problem, Tom isn’t in the best of health. He’s paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheelchair.

Undeterred, these guys break ole Tom out of his nursing home and go on the bank robbing spree of a lifetime. Unfortunately, these three, especially Emmett, are more than a little trigger happy and have no qualms shooting anyone, including cops, that get in their way. They also earn themselves the unflattering moniker of The Old Timers Gang instead of Emmett’s preferred choice, The Emmett Dalton Gang.

However, the unflattering moniker along with news coverage of this ‘new’ bank robbing gang isn’t enough to deter them. Instead of stopping and laying low, they continue on their crime-spree and attract the attention of 1930s gangsters...


The Good

Riding Shotgun has an absolutely fantastic premise. There’s lots of tension and mishaps. It’s also written in 90 percent dialogue, which makes it a fairly fast paced read. If you love bank robberies, old bank robbers and anything set in the 1930’s this book is for you.

The Weird

I di dget an updated version of this book.  I believe there was something wrong with the original version that I initially read.  This book is really strange.  This is a series of short stories with the first one entitled - Easy-Peasy.  Then, Riding Shotgun and $crilla.  The above is in reference to Easy-Peasy.  There were decent.  A little gappy in places with some very sudden endings to both chapters and the ends of the stories.  All in all, great concepts.  Interesting characters.


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