Dennis McCarthy's action-packed tale of the Wild West features our state's most infamous outlaw. Photograph by Inga Hendrickson.

DO WE NEED ANOTHER book about our most infamous outlaw? Dennis McCarthy (brother to Cormac) says yes with The Gospel According to Billy the Kid (UNM Press). His action-packed novel spools out a yarn in which Sheriff Pat Garrett fells the wrong guy, leaving the renamed Bill Roberts to endure on-the-run bouts with rattlers and rabies, bullets and bears, encounters with Benedictine monks and archaeologist Adolph Bandelier, plus a stint as a Rough Rider that wins him an enduring case of malaria. In McCarthy’s telling, you could almost believe it. As for the book’s historical facts, consider the source: a grizzled old guy on a barstool. 

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