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Summer of the Eagles (Jess Hazzard) (Volume 1) Paperback – January 28, 2015
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When Jess Hazzard rides through the gates of the Wyoming Territorial Prison, he wants only one thing: to get away from people as far and fast as possible and be alone. He's just served five hellish years for a crime he didn't commit and is looking only for peace. But first he has to earn money, and here his reputation gets him in trouble. Not only is he known as a rapist, but as a gunslinger, and a "half-breed" Apache. Nobody will hire him and the cocky young son of the one rancher who extends a hand wants to kill Jess on sight for no better reason than to build his own reputation. Jess moves wearily on - until he stumbles upon an ambush in progress. He rescues a rancher, Sean Thursten (pronounced "Seen" because his mother got the name from a book; a nice touch), from certain death. They quickly learn to trust each other. And at Sean's ranch in the Wind River Mountains, Jess finds temporary refuge, a family of sorts, and ultimately hope, love, and salvation. The characters are well-drawn. Jess, Sean, and the people around them are likable, and you feel Jess' weariness, wariness, and despair in every line. You also feel his satisfaction as he takes to the tasks of ranching (and to some extent, farming). And this, of course, is where Jackie's writing shines. She knows what she's talking about when it comes to everything from training horses to harvesting hay. Better yet, she applies her real-life knowledge to the service of the story. (You never feel as if she's stopping to explain anything. Her expertise is well-integrated into Jess' tale.) Even the cover art - painted by Jackie herself - perfectly fits the dark, stormy, energetic mood of the story. I'll be very much looking forward to more Jess Hazzard stories. Author Claire Wolfe --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Many Westerns tend to be “same old, same old”. So many have been written that they have become, in many cases, unoriginal. It is enjoyable to read a Western that has elements in it that are new. Jackie’s book has many of those.
Certainly it includes the elements we come to expect of a Western – independent men conquering the challenges that come with living in an “uncivilized” country. Horses. Bad guys. Shooting and fighting and saloons. Vistas of incomparable beauty. Cowboys and Indians in one form or another.
Jackie included more. Her writing rings true; she knows of what she writes. Her writing in clear, not cluttered with unnecessary verbiage. I read the book in two days (could have read it faster except for those little things called Responsibilities that keep me from reading 24/7.) I liked the way she developed the main character throughout the book. I enjoyed the story greatly.
Still I have two small complaints about the book.
1. The proofreading. This is not the fault of the author; the publisher needs to do a better job. There are misplaced and missing commas and other frequent mistakes of that sort. Example, page 57: “Stud’s like him’s a lot of extra bother.” The word “studs” is supposed to be plural, not possessive. The word “him’s” is a contraction for “him is”. Since “studs” is plural, it should be “him are” – I can bypass that one, however, because it is someone speaking, and many people would say it as it is written. The plural for stud having an apostrophe, though, is just bad basic proofing.
2. Vulgarities and profanities. In the 205 pages of this book there are several uses of the word damn, and several of the word God (always capitalized); to the best of my memory, the two are not ever put together. Believe it or not, there are still those of us who believe God is a sacred name and should not be abused. There are those of us who still believe the word damn has a spiritual meaning, also. Common as the abuse has become, it is still noticed by readers who share this sensitivity.
Worse, though, in my opinion is this: On page 144, once – out of the thousands of words in the book – there is the word “bulls***”.
Was the word used by one of the several shooting victims? No. Was it used after a fight in which a man was blinded? No. Was it used by the angry gun-fighter-wannabe? No. Was it used when a false accusations were being spoken? After a near drowning? After any of the other many places one could expect it to be used as an expletive? No!
I read books that contain that word often, and cruder words; I understand that for many people, this is just the way they talk and write. My complaint here is that this one usage is so terribly, noticeably inconsistent. A friend is telling the main character to get past his self-degradation. There are so many words that could have been used to express this. Certainly “self-degradation” would have been just as glaringly wrong as the characters didn't speak like that. How about calling it “garbage”, or “rot”, or “lies”? So many options are available that are "clean"; I don’t understand why the author (editor?) chose “bulls***”. It felt exceedingly out of place in the book.
Jackie’s next novel, "Autumn of the Loons" is being released in June, 2015. It will continue the story of the main characters of “Summer of the Eagles”. I look forward to reading it, though I hope the publishing company will be more aware of proofing and language choices.
I downloaded "Summer of the Eagles" on our Kindle, and could not put it down until I'd read the whole story! I am awaiting the next book in the series. Way to go Jackie!
Summer of the Eagles has much the same flavor--an outsider who find redemintion; an innocent romance; the smell and feel of the west.
This book is uneven in parts.The romance felt underdeveloped--the love at first sight kind. Worst was a dream sequence that I won't elaborate on but counts as trying to develop suspense through cheating in my book. Those are offset by good characterization of Jess and authentic details of someone who's clearly lived this life. Plus the author has good horses playing strateic roles.
I look forward to seeing this author mature.
Most recent customer reviews
Couldn't put it down
Kudo's to Jackie clay a very talented lady in all aspects of life