HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Man Called Noon: A Novel
Author: Louis L’Amour
Cover Illustrator: Gregory Manchess
Publisher: Bantam, republished 1984
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 16 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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L’Amour, Louis. The Man Called Noon: A Novel (published in 1970 by Bantam Books, an imprint of the Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., New York City, NY). A man wakes up in an Old West town in Colorado, having been shot at, with a grazing wound on the side of his head, and fallen out of an upper story window. He has amnesia and does not know who he is, what he is, where he is, how he got there, or why he is there. He knows only that someone is trying to kill him and overhears the name Ben Janis. There are some letters in his coat pocket addressed to Dean Cullane, El Paso, TX. With the help of a small time outlaw named J. B. Rimes, he finds refuge on the nearby Rafter D Ranch owned by Fan Davidge, whose father Tom Davidge had recently passed away. He begins to have feelings for Fan. Unfortunately, he finds that the ranch has been taken over by a band of outlaws run by Janish. So the man, who starts calling himself Jonas from some subconscious memory, goes to El Paso to see if he can find out who he is.
Jonas learns that before he died Tom Davidge had hidden a treasure on his ranch and, since he knew that the outlaws were looking for it and thus putting Fran in danger, had hired a gunslinger to rid the ranch of the outlaws and get the treasure to Fan. Certain memories begin to return. Because he wants to save Fan, he hurries back to the ranch. Will he make it in time? What happens to Fan? And just who is he anyway? A few references to drinking beer and dancing occur, and there is some bad language (the “d” and “h” words, along with profane exclamations like “for God’s sake”), and I wish it weren’t there because I don’t like that at all anywhere, but to be honest I have read a lot worse in some modern books said to be written for youth and even children. One thing about Louis L’Amour that I appreciate is a strong sense of right and wrong—none of this gray area where the bad guys do some good things and the good guys do some bad things.
One website listed the book under the category of “horror.” I would not call it that, or even “terror,” but I would say that it’s definitely a suspenseful “thriller.” The plot is rather complex and may be a bit difficult for some readers to follow at times, but one reviewer noted, “I guess what I like most about Louis’s style is that it is detailed just enough to place me in the exact time and place as he intended, but fluid enough to keep the story line constantly moving.” Another reviewer wrote, “I hated reading as a teenager. There weren’t any books that immersed me enough to keep me interested…. Looking through the rack of provided dull looking books, I came across The Man Called Noon…. It was one of the books the introduced me to reading. Inspired me to find more and read more often. I enjoyed the way the author so vividly describes the environment and the situation. I enjoyed reading the characters’ progression, the concept of a man who lost his memory and gradually discovering abilities he already had. It’s like you’re both discovering who he is together.”