Picked this one up on a whim from Half Price Books, and it turned out to be a pretty good read. The Outcasts is set in Texas in the 1800s, and I really enjoyed the aspects involving across the state (I live in Dallas, so it was fun recognizing some of the landscape).
“Dr. Tom had said that Texas was the only place he had ever found that, when it killed you, it didn’t forget about you.”
The Outcasts focuses on two sets of characters. Lucinda works in a brothel pretty much against her will, and she and her boyfriend have been plotting to get her out. He’s convinced there’s gold on the Gulf Coast, and he recruits her to help him find it. Elsewhere, three policeman: the intelligent and soft spoken Dr. Tom, a crusty dude named Deerling and a young lawman named Nate Cannon, are hunting down a notorious murderer and his gang as they move across the state. They face numerous challengers in their travels, both from criminals and from the wildness of nineteenth century Texas.
The suspense in the novel comes from watching the two storylines converge. The town where Lucinda escapes to in order to find the gold is inhabited by some very strange characters, and they give the whole story a nice, creepy feel. Lucinda as a main character is very hard to get a bead on — is she a victim, or is she as evil as her boyfriend? Lots of violence and time spent in brothels, so you know, overall, a pretty good read.