In Ed Ashurst’s first fiction book, Stealin’ From the Neighbors, he dives into the harsh experiences a young cowboy goes through while trying to find his place on a cow outfit.
“I drove slowly, thinking about stealing from neighbors, from people you claim to be friends with. I thought about killing your best friend. … When I got to the Crookton Hill Road, I pulled off to the side and parked and stared straight ahead toward Bill Williams Mountain. I wanted to see her.” — excerpt from Stealin’ From the Neighbors
Arizona cowboy and author Ed Ashurst has a way with words–the kind of gritty, conversational prose a real working cowboy understands and appreciates. His first fiction book, Stealin’ From the Neighbors, is no exception. The story is so relatable and rooted in reality that readers might think they know the characters or perhaps it was written about them.
It chronicles the experiences of Tommy Lee, a young cowboy starting out on an Arizona cow outfit and trying to fit in and find his place. The crew tests him and teaches him valuable lessons about life, cowboying and even rustling.
A spellbinding storyteller, Ashurst paints colorful characters and scenes through his words that are punctuated with pen-and-ink illustrations by West Texas cowboy and artist Mike Capron. The rawness of his writing, plus identifiable places and details, keeps the story engaging and real whether or not you’ve experienced the situations and locations.
“I will be accused by some of exaggerating: the bucking horses, the wild cattle, and the meanness,” he writes in the introduction. “There are no exaggerations here. There are no six-guns with seven bullets. I know what I’m talking about. I’ve eaten the dust and drank the dirty water.”
Ashurst’s books are commonly found on bunkhouse bookshelves and rolled up in bedrolls. This particular title, however, was just released as an 8-hour, 45-minute audiobook narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Wilford Brimley and music by Jess Berry. The new format is perfect for listening to while feeding this fall and winter, driving long distances or relaxing after a hard day’s work.