Doc is steeped strong in historical detail; the flow of the writing keeps it going down easy. I love how rich the people are on the page, how we've learned so much about them that small actions toward the end reverberate with meaning.
This is the third book I've read by Russell, and the third to use a back-and-forth structure: We learn the end of the story, and then what built up to it, with references to the ending throughout. While that worked in The Sparrow, here I felt a little cheated--we're given an end that we do not actually reach in this book. I expect that's because the book is intended to be about Doc's "single season of something like happiness" (from the first line), but with the back-and-forth timeline I lost the feeling of a single season and wasn't really sure why the novel stopped where it did.
I read the whole book feeling worried. I liked Doc, Wyatt, Kate, and all the others enough to care that things were going to go badly for them. At one high point (after the wake), I even gave up reading for a day or two just to linger in the happy part. But then, we did not get to the fatally bad part (OK Corral), and now I have to carry my worry on to the next installment.
There was a shade too much meandering for me; the whole beginning is a retelling of Doc's backstory. It's really well told, but still, a retelling. I'll re-read the wake at Delmonico's scene again and again, though, to see how Russell fits in so much detail about so many characters, in action and dialogue and silence.