USA Today Best-Selling Author Jo Goodman's THE LAST RENEGADE


I’ve always been drawn to romance novels.  I don’t necessarily mean love stories, although I certainly have nothing against them.  I’m talking about romance as a broader concept, the idea of adventure and drama and mystery and characters that are moved as much by ideals as they are moved by ideas.  If someone gets kissed along the way, well, that’s all to the good. Is it any wonder that I found my way to the popular fiction of a century ago – the dime novel?

Dime novels figure prominently in The Last Renegade.  Most of the townsfolk in 1880’s Bitter Springs, Wyoming are of the opinion that Nat Church, the titular hero of over twenty novels, is a flesh and blood adventurer.  They have good reason to harbor that notion since people like Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok did appear in serialized stories. Like many readers (me included), they want to believe in the Western hero: a man who will right wrongs, stand up for the oppressed, shoot the eye out of a one-eyed jack at ten paces, and save the town.  He might even get the girl, although he’d be real gentlemanly about it.

Dime novels, with their lurid covers, violent content, and heroic themes, were choice reading for adolescents, especially boys.  Certainly they were more exciting than the moralizing primers of the day, and along with newspaper accounts that read more like fiction, they romanticized life on the frontier to the extent that they might have contributed to the Western movement.   

In the tradition of dime novels, fact and fiction rub elbows in The Last Renegade.  Nat Church’s murder on his way to Bitter Springs has far reaching consequences for a town held hostage by a tyrannical family, a determined widow who wants justice for her sister’s death, and a stranger on a train who is chosen to serve and protect – not, it seems because of any particular skills – but because of the dime novel he is reading.

Let the adventure begin!

If this blog piques your interest, please leave a comment.  I will send a $10 gift card (reader’s choice) to

the winner (drawn from the comments by Petticoats and Pistols) along with a copy of The Last Renegade (if you would like one).  Wow.  Three parenthetical expressions in one sentence.  That might be some kind of record for me.

[This blog was originally published in USA Today online]

Guest Blogger

32 Comments

  1. I’m sure I would have been a dime store novel reader if I had been born during that time period. I was surprised to read that boys so avidly read them. I guess I always thought that woman and young girls were the primary readers. In fact, I started to read romance novels after checking out Good Housekeeping magazine’s monthly novel selection. This was way back in the 1980’s. I remember reading Nora Roberts’ and LaVyrle Spencer’s novels to name only two of the authors I was exposed to this way.

    I’m interested in reading how you incorporated and tied together the real life aspects of life in Bitter Springs, WY with the fictional. Sounds like a demanding project.

    Best wishes Jo Goodman.

    Nat Church sounds like an amazing hero. I’m excited to find out who murdered him and why in your story THE LAST RENEGADE!

  2. THE LAST RENEGADE sounds like an exciting book and I would love to win a copy. Thank you for your generosity!

    I too love the ‘romance’ of the West.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  3. I would love to win this book. I have read your book Never Love A Lawman and would love to read this one.

  4. The Last Renegade sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Welcome to the Junction, Jo! I love how you use the dime novel as the catalyst for your story. Looking forward to reading it.

  6. I would definitely have been a dime novel reader back then. It’s a fun idea to feature them in your next novel.

  7. Hi Jo! We’re thrilled to have you here at the Junction! I’ve read this book and I’m happy to say I’ve become a fan of yours. Kellen Coltrane was a fantastic hero, the kind we associate with the old West. And you packed lots of twists and turns into the pages. I’m recommending this book to all my friends.

    Wishing you much success!

  8. I for sure would have been running to the General Store for my copies of these Dime Store novels.. And The Last Renegade sounds like a wonderful book to add to my tbr shelves.

  9. Hi, Jo! I thoroughly enjoyed THE LAST RENEGADE, and I heartily recommend it — not only because it’s a good story, but also because you did so many things well as a writer, IMO. The story echoes dime novels in some intriguing ways. The hero and heroine were well-matched, and the two little boys were scene-stealing delights — completely unforgettable in a good way. 🙂

  10. Your cover model is yummy!!

  11. I would definitely have been a Dime Store novel reader. Reading is my entertainment and then it would have been even moreso. Westerns are so appealing and your hero sounds wonderful. Best wishes.

  12. I have already read The Last Renegade and loved it. I am now waiting for your next book True to the Law. Your Christmas letter was so funny! Thank you for the enjoyment I have received from reading your books.

  13. The Last Renegade is compelling and unique. This Western has captivated my interest. Dime novels are just what I would have loved. Wishing you a great 2013.

  14. The Dime Store Novels are delightful and I would have been a big collector and reader since they are special and unique. The Last Renegade sounds extremely interesting. Westerns are so meaningful especially with such a great hero.

  15. This blog definitely piqued my interest – I would love to read The Last Renegade. Dime novels have always intrigued me and I’ll bet I would have been an avid reader if I had lived back in the day.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway.

  16. I could see myself as one to read Dime Novels… sounds wonderful… thanks for sharing! 🙂

  17. The Last Renegade sounds interesting!

  18. This post caught my interest for the Dime Store Novels which I appreciate very much and learning about The last renegade. Best of luck and happiness.

  19. Thanks for the information about the book. I like the cover and the title. The book sounds like a good one. I have yet to read a book by you so would welcome the chance to do so.

  20. I have read The Last Renegade, I bought it at Walmart. Its a very good book. You have a lot of other westerns that I haven’t read so I will have to check those out. I would like to own a few of those dime novels in good conditions right now. Bet they would be worth a lot more then a dime.

  21. What a great cover on The Last Renegade…I’d read the book just because I like the cover. I’m sure the insides would be great too. Thanks for the info on your book.

  22. Jo, I loved THE LAST RENEGADE! It went straight to the keeper file (on Kindle). I can’t wait to read more of your Westerns.

    –Kirsten

  23. I hope you will forgive for being so late chiming in. Thank you for your interest and comments. I was writing most of the day (except for time I took off to go see Zero Dark Thirty), and even though I set a reminder for myself, I missed it and my brain went to mush! For those of you who read the book and enjoyed it, if you’re the winner, I’ll be happy to send you something from my backlist if I have it around. I have a pile of author’s copies under in plastic bins in a closet under the stairs. It’s the kind of place Harry Potter occupied when he lived with that horrible muggle family. I’m working on a third story set in and around Bitter Springs. The second one, True to the Law will be released in May. I also wrote a novella that will be included in an anthology with a Western theme. The hero of that one? Nat Church…the dime novel come to life.

  24. I definately would have been a reader of dime novels, although back when I started reading paperback books, back in the 50’s, they didn’t cost me a lot more than that. I got paid $.25 per hour for babysitting and the major part of my money went for books!

    Can hardly wait to read THE LAST RENEGADE.

  25. The Last Renegade sounds awesome. I love the cover. Thanks for the giveaway.

  26. I would have loved the dime novels. I also enjoy anything “based” on fact, even if it’s very loosely lol. The Last Renegade sounds like something I would really enjoy!

  27. The “old west” has always been my favorite time period both in books and in movies (and in TV shows although they don’t make them in that time period anymore!). I know I would enjoy your book and if I lived in the old west I’m sure I would have read dime novels! Whenever I read books set in that time period and they mention dime novels, I know just what they are talking about!

  28. I’d love to win. I’ll have to add another book to my tbr pile. I need more hours in the day.
    Cathy
    cathyann40@yahoo.com

  29. Love the idea of dime novels! This story sounds like so much fun. I especially love the cowboy on the cover. Mmmm. 🙂

  30. I have several old books that I always considered to be ancestors of series like the Hardy Boys. Most follow the exploits of some young man or boy taking on the forces of nature or having an adventure. Don’t know if they would be considered dime nkbels

  31. Hi Jo, I love your books!! Yours are one of the first romance novels I read, so they’ll always have a special place on my bookshelves.
    THE LAST RENEGADE sounds great!

  32. Some of you folks are up way past my bedtime! Sunday morning now, and I’m hunkered down for another day of writing (as soon as I get the toothbrush out of my mouth!). Good luck with the drawing!

Comments are closed.