By Tony Masero
Hale, November 2011
1889 Cuba! When his best friend and fellow Rough Rider lies fatally wounded, Jake Rains swears to care for his widow. The trouble is Kitty Cartright already has a protector, Chris Leeward, owner of the double E ranch.
Things don’t look good when Jake arrives in Oakum. There is trouble at the Cartright place, but Jake and his new friend, Sam, are determined to put things right. Not only are they faced with Leeward’s cruel riders, a band of zealous mountain men lusting for vengeance, but also the advent of the most modern of inventions. The challenge calls for old-fashioned courage on the streets of Oakum where Jake Rains must fight for his life.
Before I began reading this I was struck by the different look to the cover of this book, in my opinion much more modern in its approach than the usual paintings fronting Black Horse Westerns, something I hope we see much more often. Some may recognize the author name of this book so it’ll come as no surprise to discover that he also painted and designed the cover.
The story is set much later than many Black Horse Westerns, again this makes a refreshing and welcome deviation.
The first thing that struck me about Tony Masero’s writing is that it is very visual, a trait that perhaps comes from his many years as an artist (you can find an interview I did with Tony about his cover art here). His pacing is excellent and his characters are well defined, as are his scene and action descriptions.
One of my favourite parts of the story is a horse verses automobile race, a contest that ends dramatically – to say more would be too much of a spoiler.
This book is Tony Masero’s first for the Black Horse line, and hopefully there will be many more to follow.
Jake Rains is officially released on November 30th, but should be available now from the usual Internet sources.