as by Clay Tanner
Avon, March 1988
When the President of the United States wants a million dollars in gold given secret passage downriver…even a gambler has to fold his hand. At least until bullion-hungry buccaneers call his bluff with an old bayou battleship. As the muddy maze of the Mississippi Delta becomes a backwater battleground, Chance finds his paddlewheeler isn’t the only “Wild Card” in this deadly game: a tropical hurricane is headed straight for the bayou…ready to cash in everyone’s chips!
After the slightly disappointing previous entry into the series, Bayou Bluff sees George W. Proctor, writing as Clay Tanner, get back into his stride by giving the reader a book filled with action, a strong storyline, and a cat-a-mouse hunt that makes for gripping reading.
It’s been awhile since the Wild Card and its crew played such a strong central role in the tale and I, for one, welcomed that return. There are also other great characters that Chance has to deal with, such as the ex-Confederate Zeke Boussard and his devious and brutal methods he employs to steal the gold. Then there’s Stella Houston, a woman who just won’t take no for an answer.
The inclusion of a hurricane makes for a great plot twist and sees all sides struggling to survive this natural phenomenon of impeding death and destruction. Proctor writes this confidently and his words create some wonderful imagery as the crew cower from the storm.
A great entry into what is, overall, an enjoyable series.