When I was first pitched this book, I thought that it sounded interesting and would give it a try even though it was a little outside what I tend to read. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into this book and it took me longer to finish than I had expected.
What I thought Randall Reneau did well was the main character development with respect to their professional background. All of the geological terms and mining situations seemed very realistic, which helped me with the overall plot. However, with this being possibly the third in the series, I did get much general character development, which made them all seem very flat. I was able to get an outline of what each character should be like, and I really like the old snake farmer a great deal, but I found myself wanting specific quirks or details about each one explained more or exposed.
One issue that I had with dialogue in this novel was all of the Texan colloquialisms that were used. It seemed rather heavy handed and about a third of the way through the book I began to get annoyed by them all. The main reason for this is that they were all cliques as well. For example, "like a side of beef" or "pardner", and again, overused multiple times throughout the book. I think that if half of them were taken out and something else put in their place that still helps to give a "cowboy" or "cowpoke" kind of feel it would have helped us "city folk" get into the book more.
I also think that there were some added storylines in it that were unnecessary, like the kidnapping and show down at the Forth of July mine entrance. Those types of things could have been cut out and the story would not have suffered from it. That particular example didn't really have anything to do with the main plot of the novel and sometimes you will need "to kill your Darlings" in order to make a stronger tale.
The other thing that I was a little disappointed with was the overall editing of the novel. There were dialogue quotations missing in places along with some general editing oversights. But the big problem, and this is a huge pet-peeve of mine, is the changing of point of view from first person to third person. You either need to have the courage to keep all in first person or just put it in the more common third person. In this book, all of the chapters or sections in the eyes of the main character Trace are in first person, which is a challenge because you are only able to write what he feels, sees, etc. Everything not in Trace's POV is written in third person, which is needed to understand what is going on. Unfortunately, I am an old-fashioned stickler with respect to this issue and was disappointed to see that it was a mixture of POVs.
Overall thought, I did enjoy the storyline with respect to the mob ties, etc. I thought that could have been developed more and that more action could have taken place from the get go. The start moved quite slowly, which also made it hard for me to get to the end quickly. Usually it is a better idea to start your story in the middle of something that grabs the reader and I did not really find that with this book.
I do hope that Reneau continues writing books in the series because there is a good foundation for it. For me though, I just needed a little more description and depth to become completely invested in it.
If you like trying new readers and don't mind a slower moving plot, then this book would be for you. If you need a little more action, faster plotline, and great character development then you may want to skip this book.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through Bostick Communitcations; I was not paid to give a review of this book. The image was borrowed from Good Reads.