This is my second novel by Loren D Estleman;the first being "Journey of the Dead" for which I wrote a Review on January 31,2007 and rated it 5*.
Although I enjoyed it more;this novel is somewhat similar in style.
Estleman includes a lot of historical connections,extensive ,almost to the point of excess descriptions. He spends a lot of effort in great detail on characters and other things;where in many cases I just wished he would get on with the story. As a result ,his writing,descriptions etc, outweigh the storyline.If that is what you like ,you'll really enjoy this author.
I notice from some of the author's other novels that he writes a lot of mystery and suspense;and this definately comes through in this novel;but less so in "Journey of the Dead".
Estleman combines historical facts,characters,events etc. with fiction and I find it somewhat of an aggravation to sort things out. In 1991 ,I spent a week in the area of Soccoro,Bosque del Apache,San Marcial,and Truth or Consequences; Birding.This is where most of this novel is set.There is still an Old Soccoro area,with many buildings from the 1880's,but I don't recall any Mesas,nor can I find any town of San Sabado on the atlas.The town of Truth or Consequences is still very active and it certainly was Geronimo's old stomping grounds. Actually,I remember seeing a spring where he came for water. The time period is 1881,and several references to the death of President Garfield are made along with those of Jay Gould,the Railroad Magnate,Lillie Langtree,the actress,Jack Rimfire a writer somewhat like Ned Buntline,Bill Cody,Billy the Kid ;just to name a few. Although I'm not positive, I doubt if Judge Blacktorne,Marshal Ortiz,Frank Baronet ever existed or were based on real characters. I'd like to know if otherwise.
Readers of the fast-ation westerns will note the similarity of the main character Page Murdock,to Curtis Long of "Longarm",Skye Fargo of "The Trailsman",or Ben Stillman and Lou Prophet ,Peter Brandvold writes about.
If your preference is descriptive writing,lots of historical association and mystery over barroom ,canyon and mainstreet fast-action and shoot-outs ;this novel should be right down your alley.
Estleman sprinkles his novels with great lines,such as these;
"Cheap meaning stole."
"Every great fortune begins with a crime."
"God's finger touched him and he slept."
"They were dressed all in black from bonnets to shoes,their dark
hems dragging like crow's wings in the dust of the street."
"California has its swallows and we have our magpies."
"Any town that is running out of widows can't be all bad."
"A man who arms himself in secret is a man who will come at you from
"Gold itself isn't wicked,only its source."
"There is no sport in hunting men.I never did it for sport."