In this gun cracking, galloping "quest" or "road" western set around Arizona in 1888, seventeen-year -old Easterner and "greenhorn" Elizabeth DuBonnet journeys West in search of her mother and sister. To protect herself while traveling alone, she dresses and tries to pass herself off as a boy named Tom Black.
The other main character is a twenty something, heroic Texan and newly appointed deputy U.S. Marshall, Jake Silver. As expected of any "white hat" gentleman, he takes on the role of knight errant protector of the damsel in distress. Although in some respects the series of events and situations or plot are reminiscent of the 1940s and 1950s westerns by Luke Short, Ernest Haycox ,and Louis L'Amour, the style and tone are twenty-first century. The West was hard, lawless, violent, and the author doesn't shy away from injustice, tragedy, and death. However, no worry. Nothing explicit, prurient, and only a sprinkle of mild profanity in the dialogue.
Oh, did I mention the understandable developing romantic attraction between blond beauty Betsy and tall, stalwart Jake? Another developing character in the novel is the black train porter, Thomas Jefferson. Initially, discovering Betsy as a stowaway on his train, he befriends her and chooses to become involved in her odyssey.
This is the first of the author's "Jake Silver" western series. Some consider the followup novel, Apache, even better--What of the relationship between Jake and Betsy? What of Thomas?. If unavailable from your bookseller, both novels and the shortly to be published third action-packed adventure, Canyon Of Death, are available online from Amazon or directly from the publisher--Moonlight Mesa associates, at:http://www.moonlightmesaassociates.com/. This is a POD (print on demand) title.
As with the other genres, the western has embraced the "series" formula. Western authors do like their heroes to wear a deputy U.S. marshal's badge. Just off the cuff, there's the "Gideon Hawk" series by Peter Brandvold, Lyle Brandt's "Jack Slade", and the captivating "Page Murdock" by Loren D. Estleman. My guess is none of these veteran lawmen would hesitate riding with young, Jake Silver. 168 pages.
Recommended by Robert L. Hicks, high school librarian