Pocket Star books, March 2004
This book is billed as being the first in the GOLDEN SPIKE TRILOGY. Unfortunately there weren't anymore as Pocket Star stopped publishing westerns.
The Union Pacific Railroad is finding itself the target of a gang of outlaws. The time is shortly after the Civil War and rumour has it the gang is lead by Harvey Kidd, a ruthless man long thought dead, killed during the close of the war.
The Railroad is heading for the town of Black Creek and the outlaws gather. Into this explosive mix rides mysterious stranger Dane Bowman, a man with a lightning fast gun. Bowman, ex-Union, finds himself siding an ex-Rebel, Grimes, who people want killed. Why? All Grimes has is a totally worthless plot of land.
Whose side is Bowman really on? He takes on outlaws and lawman alike.
Jake Lancer, who the book says has written as Jake Logan (Slocum series), is author David Jacobs. Here he provides us with a book that contains mystery elements with the who are they and why are they questions used to great effect. The book builds slowly to a violent conclusion that throws in a few surprises to go along with the answers to those questions.
For me, though, I felt the book would have been better shorter. David Jacobs spends a lot of time, especially at the beginning, with detailed descriptions of locations and actions, which occasionally seemed like padding. The book only picking up pace once Bowman and Grimes reach Black Creek about a third of the way into this 279-page story. Along with picking up pace the book moves rapidly from one revelation to another and gunfights come frequently making me pleased I hadn't given up on it during that first third which at one point I was tempted to do. In fact the latter two thirds made me want to dig out one of those Slocum books and see what they’re like.