By Denis J. Harrington & Charlie Steel
Condor Publishing, Inc., December 2015
Captain Glazer of the steamboat, The Dakota Dawn, hires Clint Finnegan to become his second in command and to learn to pilot the dangerous snag-filled waters of the Missouri River. What Finnegan didn’t expect on his very first trip was to have the army payroll stolen and a beautiful woman kidnapped. Risking his life, he chases after the girl and the money, ultimately encountering angry plains Indians protecting their hunting grounds.
From the blurb, and cover illustration, you’d be forgiven expecting a book set mainly on a riverboat. True a fairly lengthy first part of the tale is, and this contains some fascinating information about the workings of a riverboat, but once the payroll is stolen and the young woman kidnapped and the riverboat disabled the story becomes land-based and changes from a story of life on the river to a much more straight-forward western full of deadly, brutal action as Finnegan encounters Indians, deserters, and gunrunners in his quest to retrieve the stolen payroll and, more importantly for him, the abducted woman.
The authors tell their tale from the point of view of many of the large cast of people, and at times Finnegan seems to become a secondary character but you know he’s there, in the background, never giving up his relentless pursuit.
Sadly Denis J. Harrington passed away in July 2015, before the book he had drafted was published. Charlie Steel had already teamed up with Denis to add polish and historical detail to the manuscript and I must say he has done a fine job.
Between them Harrington and Steel have come up with a very fast-paced tale that is extremely well-written making this a book all fans of westerns, and riverboats, will enjoy.