Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of In the Books, featuring Yaqui Gold by Jonas Kirby and Clint Walker.
About the book: Sam Coffey and Tom Vanse hit a bad streak of luck when the daughter of the man they were working for was killed in a freak accident with a bull and a mad cow. Feeling the need to change their lives, the two partners drift down into southern Arizona, where Sam’s sweetheart lives.
In Arizona, they meet up with an old man who has found a hidden treasure of gold and silver in the middle of Yaqui Indian country. He convinces them to go after it.
This sounds like a pretty good idea until the partners are caught with the gold by the Yaquis.
Sam manages to save Tom at the last harrowing minute, but now he is in the grasp of the brutal Yaquis, and trying to survive the most horrendous trek imaginable to get out of the Mexican desert.
My Review: To be honest, I originally bought this book because it was co-written by one of my favorite western actors, Clint Walker, and I’m glad I did. I’m a lifelong fan of western authors Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour, and, to me, the author picked up the torch.
It’s my understanding that the characters were based on Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck, and I can see the resemblances. Both characters had their flaws, but also tried to walk the line of doing what’s right no matter the circumstances. In those ways, they’re typical character archetypes, but they did so in an enjoyable manner that helped me to believe they could overcome anything.
The other characters were just as richly developed, especially the two outlaws stalking the heroes. I lived the gritty realism they brought to the book as well as the Yaqui Indian that watched over Sam during his trek. The brutality of their minds and actions made me want to see them fail, but sometimes there are those too ornery to give up without a major fight.
I loved the story, as it flowed smoothly and reminded me of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour’s tales of good guys versus bad guys that define the western genre, but the setting added so much more. There were times I wondered how anyone could survive in the harsh climate, much less traverse the terrain. The authors brought to life the grit, heat, and harshness of the desert in a way I haven’t seen often.
I think this is Clint Walker’s only writing credit thus far, and I hope he does more. I also look forward to reading more Jonas Kirby and the way he brings the world around his characters to life.