Black Fox Vann, a Cherokee Lighthorseman hunts the outlaw who, in the Nation, is likened to Robin Hood. He finds The Cat bleeding to death in the woods after a failed robbery attempt. His thrill at finally apprehending the thief is overshadowed by his discovery that The Cat is really a woman, Cathleen O’Sullivan.
Cathleen has spent the last year living in the woods working on the revenge she seeks for the death of her mother. A Cherokee man killed both of her parents and tried to molest Cat, and she wants to legally call him out to kill him in a fair gunfight. In the meantime she spends her nights robbing Tassel Glass, the local merchant and bootlegger…the same man who killed her parents. When she is shot, Cathleen sees her dream of killing Tassel fade. When she is rescued by Vann hope blossoms, but he plans to take her to Fort Smith to be hanged for shooting a white lawman in the back.
Through the story their relationship develops and they begin to trust one another and both feel less lonely. Hanging over their heads is the imminent fact that she is going to be tried and hung for the death of the lawman. When other crimes begin to happen and her sign, a cat paw print, is left, it raises more suspicions that she is the culprit. In the end Cathleen and Black Fox team up to find the true murderer.
THE LONER provides a small glimpse into life in the Cherokee Nation in the late 1800’s. Scenes with Cat stealing and delivering things to the needy were very touching and well written. I had a difficult time relating to and feeling for the characters as they interacted. This book would be good for someone looking to read about a non-traditional hero and a bad girl heroine.
Michelle Libby, July 2003