Sunday, 17 July 2011

Canyon of Death

Book 3 in the Jake Silver series.
By Jere D. James
Moonlight Mesa Associates, 2011

U.S. Deputy Marshal Jake Silver heads into Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains in search of his nemesis, Johnny Geiger. The marshal is thirsty for revenge after Geiger’s kidnapping and brutal beating of Silver’s fiancée. The shoot-out is more than the marshal bargained for, however, and if not for the assistance of the renegade Apache, Nantan Lupan, the marshal’s outcome would be fatal.

The last book in this series ended with the kidnapping of Betsy, Silver’s fiancée, leaving readers desperate for the publication of this book so they could find out what happened next. As expected this story begins a short time after the excellent cliff-hanger ending of the previous book.

Although there is plenty of action this story is very much a study of human feelings and how people react to them. Silver promises to stay with Betsy and immediately leaves to track down, and kill, Geiger. Betsy then starts to question her relationship with Silver, this being further complicated as a new man starts to show an interest in her. Silver himself begins to have doubts about being tied down in marriage, and the reader will soon be wondering if Betsy and Silver will still be an item by the end.

Nantan Lupan was introduced in the previous book and he too struggles with questions to which path his life should follow. He wants a new life but can he break away from his strong bonds of friendship with Silver? Maybe after the deadly shoot-out in the Canyon of Death this can be resolved, if either of them are still alive?

These questions and many others, along with Jere D. James superb storytelling, hooked me instantly. Answers to some questions came quickly, often leading to more. With Betsy giving up hope for Silver’s return, she agrees to marry another. Silver,  unaware of this heads for home, will he arrive in time to bring a halt to this marriage? Will Betsy still want him if he does get home safely? What of the new man in Betsy’s life? Will he accept losing her gracefully or will guns be drawn in anger?

This book does bring to a conclusion a number of story threads that link this book with the first two in the series, and, although not ending with such a dramatic cliff-hanger as the previous book, does leave the reader wanting to see where the next story will take the surviving characters, Jere D. James having neatly planted the seed for the next with mention of a man known as the High Country Killer (which is the title of the next book). Let’s hope it isn’t too long before that book is published!

The book also contains a number of black and white photographs taken by Jere D. James of the location the book is set in and these really help the reader visualise the harsh, yet stunning beauty of the Chiricahua Mountains.

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