Thursday, September 18, 2014

Vengeance at Sundown by Larry D Sweazy

Lucas was framed for a murder and imprisoned.  He hadn't killed John Barlow.  He might have wanted to, but he didn't kill him.  Now people in the prison were trying to kill him.

Mr. Sweazy sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  I've read several books by him and I've enjoyed every one.  This is another western that is set at the end of the civil war.

While Lucas is fighting for his life, the Negroes on the black side of the prison get out.  Suddenly it's not just Lucas' fight, it's a black and white fight.  Even more amazing, a black man says he can help him get out.  Is that another trap or an opportunity?  Turns out to be a bit of both...

Mr. Sweazy always makes his characters strong, determined, and willing to do whatever it takes for survival.  Even if that means killing another man, they'll do it.  The Civil War and slavery figure prominently in this story.  As you follow Lucas and Zeke on their run away from the prison, you get a touch of what life was like for the blacks.  It's not pleasant but they make the most of what they have.

The "dead" man is alive.  He's a diabolical man who has no regard for anyone except himself.  He acquires his wealth by causing others' deaths.  He had his hands cut off to frame Lucas and now he's attempting to get all the land and property that belonged to Lucas, too.  He's going to set himself in business and live as an important landowner.  He has Charlotte, too, even if she doesn't want him.

This is a study in personalities and what bad times can do to any man.  Some shine and get to be better men.  Some go the other way. It seems impossible that Lucas would be able to better Barstow, who has Chinese henchmen, but he has to give it a try.

The only drawback in reading a western by Mr. Sweazy is that the men never end up happily ever after.  They may have a love, but the west is no place to keep one.  What he writes is more authentic than what I might like to see.  But, just once, I'd like someone to keep the girl!

All in all, if you like a good western with tough characters, this is one for you.  And Lucas Fume will be back again...

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