By Josh Lockwood
Hale, September 2013
The Lost Treasure Ship of the Mojave, said to be loaded with a cargo of black pearls from the sea of Cortez, was probably the oldest, most persistent tale of lost treasure in the West.
Ned Gamble, a down-at-heel drifter, is hired to guide a high-class Mexican woman into the Yuha Badlands in search of the ancient vessel and finds instead that he’s stumbled into a game of treachery and triple-cross.
Still, unravelling the legend of the ancient ship would make a man rich as a king…if it doesn’t kill him first.
Based around the mythical lost ship of the Mojave which legends say is a Spanish ship laden with pearls, lost in the 1600s and all but forgotten until sometime in the 1800s when some set out to find it.
Josh Lockwood’s third Black Horse Western tells of a fictional search for the missing ship that proved to be a gripping read as I wanted to know if Gamble would find the ship and if he did, would it’s treasures (if they existed) bring wealth and happiness. Of course the title of the book hints that everything will not run smoothly and that danger through triple-cross will have to be overcome, but who was going to cross who?
The story involves Indians, Mexican bandits, and a beautiful arrogant woman who Gamble really can’t bring himself to like in anyway.
Lockwood’s descriptions of the desert landscape are particularly well written and the action scenes are fast and hard-hitting. Gamble is a likeable hero and I found myself sharing his dislike of the woman who hired him and of his loathing of bacon and beans (you’ll have to read the book to find out why this is). After the triple-cross the tale becomes a classic vengeance tale that ends in a brutal gunfight that provides an exciting end to the story.