This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Pioneering Press
Released on January 28, 2016
I was in the mood for an action-packed gritty Old West adventure and that was exactly what I got. But what I didn’t expect was the inclusion of a mystery element along with a bit of romance. And boy howdy did that just about make this story perfect for me.
The story opens with former army scout and lawman, Mart Donahue stumbles across a burning wagon and a couple dead bodies out near Apache country. Donahue’s instincts are honed to a fine edge and the evidence left behind smell of trouble especially the presence of a woman’s effects and no woman. But he rides on into Tombstone to report what he found and leave the dead men and the woman’s things at the sheriff’s office. The Earps are inclined to believe him about what occurred, but the woman’s fiancé seems bent on pinning her disappearance on Donahue.
Donahue planned on settling in the territory and he can’t until he clears his name and gets the bounty on his head removed. And the only way to do that is to find the girl. As Donahue painstakingly follows the trail he finds more contradicting evidence and things don’t add up. Apaches on the warpath, bounty hunters out to end him, a fiery and beautiful Mexican woman who doesn’t trust him, and powerful people moving their plans forward from the shadows keep Donahue keen and dangerous as only he can be.
I was delightfully surprised when I realized the author was weaving his tale with real life characters and events- Geronimo, Crook, the Earps, the OK Corral. Yep, good times! The plot was action-based of course and provided several exciting gun battles, survival scenes, and the rise in tension as the mystery behind events tightened the danger up that extra notch.
The way the author introduced his hero, Donahue, allowing the reader to slowly figure out what caliber of man he is and that really worked for me. He is a man of few words and lets his actions speak for him. I loved the peeling back of the layers to reveal who he was and what he was capable of doing. He had camaraderie with the hard lawmen like the Earps, but was also well respected at the nearby fort for his fighting and scouting prowess.
In the midst of the action sequences were some hilarious moments usually involving Ysabella the fiery Mexican lady. Poor Donahue wasn’t sure of what to make of her, but was smart enough to treat her warily, but with respect after seeing her in all her devious glory. They had some good scenes together.
[quote]“She let the pistol hang down by her side, and fell against him, shivering with cold and shock. He put his arm round her, acutely conscious of her nakedness, and was about to make suitable soothing noises when he felt her stiffen and pull away from him.
“Cerdo!” she spat. “All men are the same! You take advantage of a naked woman! You try to maul her! Pig!” she added, in case he had not got the message in Spanish, and for emphasis, she slapped his face.
It was no lover’s tap. Donohue, caught totally by surprise, did not even have a chance to duck, and took the full force of the blow on his cheekbone. It hurt.
“I never intended….” He began. “I had forgotten you had no clothes on, ma’am! Didn’t mean to…” He stopped, dumbfounded, when she slapped him again.
“That is for forgetting! And that” – her hand swung again, but this time, he caught her wrist and stopped it.
“And what the hangment is that one for?” he shouted, goaded beyond bearing.
“That is for not intending to!” she snapped, stepped round him and dived into the little cave. He stood there by three corpses and waited for his head to stop ringing. When it had, he could still not work out whether he had just been slapped for taking advantage of her nudity or for not doing so.”
- 100 Donahue and Ysabella from Unforgiving[/quote]
I loved getting the big money scene at the end because Barratt, the man who accused Donahue of killing Ysabella and starting the whole mess, was such a bully and really had it coming.
All in all, this was a satisfying story set in the Old West that I can heartily recommend.
My thanks to Pioneering Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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