Doc could use a little medicine |

Doc could use a little medicine


DILLON – More than a century after Doc Holliday’s death, people still follow the uphill trail from downtown Glenwood Springs to his grave.Holliday’s marker doesn’t delineate exactly where his bones lie in the cemetery. Rather, the tombstone around a wrought-iron fenced area says he’s buried somewhere in the vicinity.But his unknown location doesn’t seem to bother visitors. They take photos of the marker, leave playing cards for the Wild West legend and pour whiskey over the ground. Sometimes they sit and share a pint among friends, as if to lure Holliday’s spirit back.The passion, poker and pestilence characterizing Holliday’s life intrigues many, especially author L.T. Brooks. Her book, “The Last Gamble of Doc Holliday,” outlines the American icon’s life from his birth and abusive upbringing in Georgia to his death from tuberculosis in Glenwood Springs.She dedicates almost a fourth of the book to his life as a child, where he eventually learns to use a gun to dissuade his father from beating him. Meanwhile, his mother’s battle with tuberculosis plagues him.Brooks fills her pages with a star-crossed love affair, depictions of a dentist who cared for prostitutes when no one else would help, Holliday’s travels west, gambling, drinking, adventures with Wyatt Earp and his eventual death from tuberculosis. Four pages of references suggest a well-researched piece of historical fiction – one in which she weaves Civil War accounts with Holliday’s personal story.The book, however, could use a little doctoring.In general, it lacks rich characterization and compelling storytelling.Brooks seems to interrupt her scenes by telling the reader about Holliday rather than drawing the reader deeply into his story. As a result, Holliday and other characters never fully come to life on the page.Overall though, it’s a quick and simple read, and Brooks adequately conveys Holliday’s multifaceted life.

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