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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jake's Revenge by Mary Suzanne

Jake's Revenge by Mary Suzanne
Publisher: Devine Destinies
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (40 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Geranium

Jake Carson has idealistic ideas about traveling west from his home in Boston and taking on the role as a cattle rancher. He succeeds in acquiring what he sets out to do, but feels bitterness toward three of the men he’s hired to help on the cattle drive. They shoot his two friends, rustle his cattle and then shoot him. Jake is left to die along the hot dusty trail. When Jake survives, with the help of the Ute Indians, his only thought is revenge. What will happen when he faces the three in a shootout on the dusty street of Salt Lake City? Will this satisfy the revenge eating him up inside?

Jake Carson's dream of becoming a cattle rancher has just become a reality when two of his men are shot and he is left for dead. His cattle are rustled, and now, by golly, he's bent on revenge. Jake's story of survival, revenge, and finding love makes a satisfying, quick read, and the story moves along at a lively pace.

Jake and Yani, a Ute Indian maiden, are complex and well-developed characters. Yani wants to please her family, but that would mean giving up Jake. Jake knows that Yani isn't free to choose him, so he keeps his distance. Yet they have a hard time keeping apart.

The setting, 1850's Utah Territory, is vividly drawn out and sufficiently exotic that it held my interest throughout. Even though I've never been to Utah, Ms. Suzanne's writing helped me to clearly picture the vast expanses. Yani's dilemma, whether or not to submit to the traditional marriage arranged by her tribe, or to give in to her feelings for Jake, is one many readers, whatever their ethnicity, can relate to. I'm far from an expert on the history of the Old West, but the scenario depicted in this novel feels gritty and real.

It was obvious from the beginning that Easterner Jake is naive. He never considers that the cattle rustlers have already shot two of his men and would have no problem with shooting him as well. It seemed a little convient that when his life is on the line the Utes take him and nurse him back to health when they seem to barely know him. Still, this was a minor question in my mind and didn't really hinder my enjoyment of this lively tale.

The author did an excellent job of building up Jake's motivation and determination for revenge. I had no doubt that he would be ready, willing and able to shoot the three bad guys if and when he ever caught up to them. Apart from the revenge factor, I pulled for Jake and Yani to have a happy ever after.

I couldn't help but want more. This story felt like a novel compressed into the space of a short story. The tale begins with a bit of an info-dump, three pages of straight back story, before we get into the guts of the tale, where Jake is driving his cattle to Salt Lake City to sell. However, Mary Suzanne knows how to tell a story. Once past the initial three pages, I couldn't put it down so I encourage other readers to push on through.

The end felt real and satisfying, and I thought about Jake and Yani long after I finished reading. If you're looking for a quickie to pass the time, this story won't disappoint.