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Review Detail

Westerns July 16, 2014
The past catches up – A review of the novel ‘Blood Moon’
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“A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it” – Shane Some say the greatest fear we have in life is a feeling that we are too big and powerful. While some want to become supreme and be number one, there are others who shrink away from their greatness because of the way people around them might react. But the truth is, glory can’t be bought or achieved by hoping and wishing for it; you have to earn it, seek the truth within you, by becoming who you were meant to be. Similarly, once you’ve achieved greatness or people have come to identify the true grit in you, you can never shy away from the responsibility; it is your crown and your cross to carry in this lifetime. In author Richard Dawes' latest book in the Tucson Kid series, Blood Moon, the story follows from where the previous book Death Song left off. After killing Augustine Baca, the Tucson Kid escapes Mexico before the former gang members of Baca, who are hell bent on revenge, can catch up with him. Leading this gang of men is a viciously evil man called Joaquin Murrillo, former associate and ‘disciple’ of Baca. Fate lands the Tucson Kid in New Mexico where he finds himself in the middle of a range war between a rancher named Ben Henderson and a beautiful Mexican woman named Mercedes De La Rosa. Henderson wants Mercedes' land – and he wants it at any cost. But when the Tucson Kid refuses to help him, and instead joins forces with Mercedes, an all out war breaks out. Henderson gets some unexpected help in the form of Joaquin Murillo. The Tucson Kid finds himself facing both his past and his present in a battle that leaves a trail of blood and death all around him. Blood Moon has a rather slow start unlike the previous books in the series, but you know the action is coming; as you turn the pages you can feel the crescendo rising, you know something huge is about to happen, like the calm before the storm. And when it strikes you are in for a surprise, a sort of anti climax because the Tucson Kid is shown riding quietly out of River Bend; but terror strikes in its most evil and malicious form when a gang of Mexican outlaws led by Joaquin Murrillo comes into town. They wreak havoc in Sheriff Tom McLaughlin’s house, where he and his wife Consuela had given refuge to the Tucson Kid when he rode through town. There is definitely more violence in this one compared to previous occasions; but what it also does by introducing a bigger sinister villain is that it brings into play a doubt that creeps into the reader’s mind as to whether the Tucson Kid can defeat this new stronger enemy, or if he has finally met his match? There are a lot of little gems of interplay like this strewn throughout the book, another example worth mentioning is the fist fight between Tucson and Wade Everett and Luis to establish superiority and leadership. Richard Dawes’ gift is the way he takes the reader along and makes him or her part of each character’s immediate environment, helping them to visualize even the minute details. Simply put, it's quite brilliant. In Blood Moon we also get to see a more subdued and insightful Tucson coming to grips with his fate as Storm Rider. There is even a back story into the myth about the origins of Storm Rider. He is part of a great lineage – that reaches back thousands of years - that says he was always meant for great things and a great destiny. Tucson’s relationships with women have always been a highlight in this series, marked by passion, feistiness and honour. But his romance with Mercedes De La Rosa has been given more depth and space to develop in Blood Moon. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone who loves a good western story. The Tucson Kid is the sort of anti hero with a heart of gold who sets about to correct all wrongs. It will obviously satisfy the fans of The Tucson Kid series. Richard Dawes has ensured that Blood Moon is a worthy instalment for this very successful series. Watch out for the big surprise in the climax fight when an unexpected entity comes to the aid of the Tucson Kid. 
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