The Novelist

Theo Czuk’s first novel, HEART-SCARRED has won the 2014 LARAMIE Book Award for Best in the Literary Western. Theo is presently working on his second novel, THE BLACK BOTTOM: The Measure Of A Man.



Consciousness ebbed and flowed as Rory Casso chipped at the ice with his Bowie. Three inches of winter ice lay between Rory and water. And food. And life. If he could not traverse these mere inches of frozen liquid, life would be short. But an even uglier deliberation than death bedeviled Casso’s thoughts for even as he grappled with the ice, Rory recounted the contingents of outlaws and Indians, face thick with the paint of war, that were stalking his beloved Bronwyn as she negotiated the wilds of these western reaches. Bloodied, battered and bruised, Rory Casso continued chip-chipping at the ice with the Bowie knife until the demands of the concussion’s cataleptic grip squeezed consciousness from his flayed body.

REVIEW: Jill Beauchamp, HORIZON BOOKS “I don’t tend to read westerns, but this one has great characters, psychological insights, a romance, and, of course, action packed adventure that makes Heart-Scarred appealing to readers of all kinds.

The protagonist, Rory Casso, is lonely and searching both within and without for a feeling of home. Bronwyn Mason is a strong and strong-hearted young woman who knew Rory when they were children. Juke Bauque, Rory’s partner in payroll deliveries to the wild west, is half African American and half Native American, with the soul of a poet.

When these three join up against the notorious Thompson gang, there are sparks of all kinds flying!

As Rory battles the onset of winter, the Thompson gang and his internal demons, the reader is taken on a ride of pure storytelling excitement.”