"The Stacked Deck" will be published in late June 2016. But here's a
First time author, JD March, makes us fall in love with the Old West with her book series The Devil’s Own.
True West Magazine http://www.truewestmagazine.com/has chosen JD March, as Best New Western Author in 2014 and she was a Spur Award Finalist for Best Western Traditional Novel in 2015 from Western Writers. http://westernwriters.org/spur-awards/
I was comfortable back in the saddle heading out west to catch up with Johnny Fierro and a cast of familiar characters from the past two books, “Dance with the Devil” and “Uneasy Alliance”. Both books set the stage for Johnny Fierro’s story and the Sinclair men. Set against the background of New Mexico after the Civil War, the story line is a departure from the usual Western genre where the hero wears a white hat and it totally honorable. Johnny is a flawed character who is manipulative, wary, proud, distrustful, and dangerous and a gun for hire killer. He is not a man to cross, kills easily yet is haunted by his murky past and the ghosts of the men he’s killed. He doesn’t let his emotions show under a hard exterior. But the dichotomy is Johnny has a very strong sense of justice and is moral despite seeing everything in black and white. He will risk everything to right wrongs and is fiercely loyal.
The author hopes readers will see that Johnny’s life has been marred by circumstances, changing him into someone he should never have been. He was neglected and abused as a child and forced to defend himself as a youth. John Sinclair finds a gun and learns to use it. By the time he’s 20, he is a gunfighter who now calls himself Johnny Fierro.
Book Three “Stacked Deck” is a turning point in the series and my favorite of the three books with a very compelling and engaging storyline. While the story moves at a slower pace than previous two books, I learned far more about Johnny’s past and how circumstances turned him into the man he is. When Johnny is confronted with his past and arrested his worst fears are realized. He worries with the dark secrets of his past exposed his family will never want to have anything to do with him. His relationship with his brother Guy is strained and stretched almost to the breaking point after the arrest and the subsequent events that follow. It’s a revelation to Johnny that the Sinclair family are his strongest allies as well as Stoney a friend from the past who knows and understands where Johnny has come from and Ben, the local doctor.
I admire how the author was able to interject wry humor into some tense situations subsequently creating a lighter mood. The dialogue is well written and moves the plot along at a good pace. The language is indeed what I would imagine to be the vernacular of characters from the Wild West days. These characters include bar patrons, ranch hands and ladies of the brothel. Male characters dominate the story so pictures of the women are less developed.
The author hopes readers will pay close attention to the details from all three books as clues are buried along the way that will take on a far greater significance found in stories later in the series.
Johnny is trying to forge a relationship with his father but since they both come from such hugely diametrically opposed backgrounds progress is slow and they constantly clash. Details of Johnny’s father Guthrie’s upbringing and social class emerge in book three with the introduction of a new character, Burnett.
“Stacked Deck” ends with a bit of a cliff hanger much like the other two books ensuring the reader will stick with Johnny on his next adventure. I know it’s going to be one wild ride with a roller coaster of events and emotions.
Check out JD March’s blog. http:/www.jdmarch.com/ it’s creative with a western theme. Be sure to put “Stacked Deck” on your summer reading list.