Review: Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding

A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

You know that saying about how we never see ourselves objectively? Sometimes it takes seeing your reflection in someone else's eyes to register that you're more than you give yourself credit for? I kept coming back to that saying while reading this and hoping Jimmy could catch just a sliver of himself through Shane's eyes.

Jimmy Dorsett is a nuanced character that will warm on even the coldest of hearts. He's grizzled and worn down by life. He's battered and broken and he's learned the hard way that hope is the most dangerous thing of all. It's the poisoned well he can't afford to drink from again.

He'll break your heart with his simple truths. He's long since given up on the idea of "home" and love is not even on his radar. Those things happens to other people. Not him.

He's a ghost, one of the forgotten people. The ones we pass everyday and try to avoid eye contact with them. Through a series of oddly serendipitous events he finds himself in a sleepy little town where everybody knows everybody called Rattlesnake and meets Shane Little.

Shane notices Jimmy immediately. Sees the good, maybe recognizes a kindred spirit and sees his pain. Shane, too, has seen his fair share of hard knocks and maybe that's what makes him throw all his chips in on Jimmy. Jimmy's a gamble if ever there was one.

I knew you'd love me as long as you wanted
And then someday you'd leave me for somebody new
Why do I let myself worry?
What in the world did I do?
Oh, crazy
For thinking my love could hold you
I'm crazy for trying
I'm crazy for crying
And I'm crazy for loving you

~Patsy Cline

Drifting is all Jimmy's ever known and every day in Rattlesnake he tells himself will be his last. He'll be off to the next town, the next adventure. And one day turns into two turns into weeks turns into a couple of months... Then small glimmers of hope start to creep in, a subtle turning of the tide.

Their journey is not the easiest nor is it the hardest. They are two ordinary, middle aged men who want desperately to belong to someone and, hopefully, that person can overlook their flaws, the ones that are visible and the ones that aren't.

Rattlesnake is a quiet slice of life tale that is character driven. It's low angst and if you're looking for characters that are glitzy and ostentatious, explosions or action, you'll be disappointed. When you boil it down, Rattlesnake is about the nurturance and care of a blossoming and fragile relationship and one man's journey to rediscovering hope.

Fielding creates an atmosphere with a few deftly chosen words that put me right into whatever fictional place she's crafted without inundating me with interior decorating. I could almost smell the french toast wafting from Mae's, hear Betty's a cappella rendition of 'Crazy' and feel the bark on that 500 yr old tree on the ranch. 

She weaves the character development into the quilt of this story with each patch being another heartbreaking, joyous or poignant moment that will take your breath away. I don't know if I fell more for Jimmy and Shane or Rattlesnake and all its meddling, protective and dynamic secondary characters. They protect their own, but once you're one of them you can expect the same treatment. 

"It's about the folks who want you, who stick with you no matter what. They know your secrets and flaws, and you know theirs, and you love each other anyway."

The sex is intimate, passionate, not overly explicit yet erotic with some stunningly vivid moments of vulnerability.

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out of the ties that bind
I find it very, very easy to be true
I find myself alone when each day is through
Yes, I'll admit I'm a fool for you
As sure as night is dark and day is light
I keep you on my mind both day and night
And happiness I've known proves it right
You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
Because you're mine, I walk the line

~Johnny Cash

If you're looking for a feel good read, you've found it.

Highly recommended.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads.


  1. Love, love, LOVE this review! You even quoted two legends of country music! I think I'm going to have Cupcake tattooed on my chest across my heart! ❤️