by Jack Petersen, 2013
Although set in the present-day, this book is a Western. It starts out in Nevada, where the locals like to rope their dinner, and consuming alcohol is the prime goal in life. More important, it feels like a Western, with honest men using their straight-forwardness and not much brainpower to stand up for what's right.
But our hero, Dirk Lang, has a brain. He's a geologist working for a neglected gold mine in the middle of nowhere. He lives in a trailer, has no one to share his life, and guzzles beer to forget his troubles.
But those troubles seem plenty minor when a pair of FBI men starts asking about millions of dollars of missing gold and a couple dead bodies! Oh, and the other pair with the brass knuckles and blazing guns aren't helping to brighten Dirk's future either.
Then a brunette shows up, smoking a cigar and accusing him of much the same. Is she just more trouble? Or a way out of it?
What follows is a story of intrigue, action, cross-country chase scenes, and even romance. The characters are likeable and interesting and we enjoy being in their company. The villains are suitably nasty to make us hiss at them. The ending is action-packed and conclusive.
There's a few spelling and punctuation errors, like, “high jacking” should be “hijacking”, but none that distract from the narrative. A bit worse problem is when a character speaks for more than one paragraph, his first paragraph has beginning quotation marks but the second paragraph does not. At first glance, it looks like we're back to the hero's narrative. But really, the book is quite readable.
The story moves along in a light, breezy flow. It's fast-paced and holds the interest. Unlike many books of late, it was not a chore to read. In fact, this book has been the most enjoyable for me in a while.
Best line in the book, spoken of a captured bad guy: “In my rush, it's possible that I may have accidentally kicked him in the head as I was leaving.”