as by J. William Allen
A Black Horse Western from Hale, June 2010
To his dying day, Monte Crawford never understood why he saved Grover Lang’s life. It was one of those unfathomable things – since it certainly wasn’t in his nature to help others.
Whatever the reasons, Crawford’s uncharacteristic act of kindness leads to all kinds of unforeseen consequences: blood, mayhem and death, as the perilous journey to the legendary treasure of Santa Maria begins….
A story that begins during the Civil War, sees the two main characters captured and taken to a prison camp – during the march here is when Crawford saves Lang – and a friendship is born. Due to Crawford’s background you have to wonder as to how long that friendship will last and it isn’t long before Crawford steals from Lang and heads off on his own.
The author then sticks with Lang, follows him through the death of his brother and his taking on his brother’s family. Sees Lang begin to create a new and healthy life for himself. But all the time the author hints that Crawford will return and bring danger with him.
The book is low on gun action but strong on storyline, the author creating some excellent characters. Lang is quick to forgive and re-forge his friendship with Crawford but is he really as gullible as he makes out? This in turn leads to a tense finale.
This is J. William Allen’s third Black Horse Western – although the author’s name is a pseudonym for a long-time writer of BHWs written under a variety a names. He has been a favourite of mine since I first read one of his books a long while ago, due to his well thought out plots and well observed characterizations, and this book, although not his best, strengthens my opinion of his writing.
The Treasure of Santa Maria is officially released on June 30th but it is available now from Internet booksellers.