Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shooting Star by Brock & Bodie Thoene

book cover

Shooting Star
by Brock & Bodie Thoene

ISBN: 1556613202
Trade Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: April 1993

Source: Checked out from the library.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Andrew Jackson Sinnickson had crossed paths with Jack Powers long before Powers' name was known and feared as the genuine article: the first and worst of the California bad men. Total contrasts in character, in values, in approach to life, the two men locked horns from their original encounter in the southern presidio of Santa Barbara to the gold miners' hovels of Angel's Camp in the Sierras.

Sinnickson had been on hand when the Bear Flag rebellion had carried California from Mexican to American ownership. Now to the sleepy, sparsely populated western outposts came hordes of treasure seekers honest miners, greenhorns, gamblers, sharps, and cutthroats. Gold-fever madness in a land without law burst open a door for exploitation, and Powers and his bandits soon established their upper hand.

When the price of steers jumps from $2 to $100 to feed the starving miners, Sinnickson gets involved in the first-ever California cattle drive. But it's three hundred treacherous miles that lead into the heart of Powers' strength.

Discover the Roots of the Shiloh Legacy Left to Grandson Birch Tucker by Andrew Jackson Sinnickson.

My Review:
Shooting Star is a western set in 1848 in California at the start of the gold rush. Though this novel is the last book in the series, it's only lightly tied to the Will Reed novels in this series. It's essentially a stand-alone novel.

Historical details about everyday life in the gold camps and on a cattle drive were woven into the story. There were a couple of spots where the action stopped to give a history lesson, but they were brief. The authors tended to find everything that could go wrong and use every problem--using the very worst way things could go wrong--in the novel. So they pushed credulity at some points, but the story was exciting and suspenseful. The suspense was created primarily by physical danger.

The characters were interesting and varied. Will Reed's boys and Andrew were Christians. Andrew was called upon to give a funeral sermon. Later, a series of miracles occur to save their lives, and God was given the credit. So it was a Christian novel.

A word or short phrase of Spanish was often dropped into the writing. They usually weren't explained, but one could usually still follow what was going on. There was no bad language and no sex. The ending left some minor things unresolved.

If you're interested in this book because of the prologue in A Thousand Shall Fall, you should know that only the shooting star fragment was explained. You do get a good idea of where the $20 gold coins came from, but they weren't specifically mentioned. However, the pocket watch and fob was never explained or mentioned.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
Jack Powers. Now there is a name to frighten children into behaving. "Straighten up!" the Californio mothers would say, "or Jack Powers will get you!"

Long before Joaquin Murrieta rode into legend on a flashy stallion named Revenge, and much earlier than Black Bart ever penned his first poem, Powers was well known and feared. From the southern California cantinas of the City of Angels, to the miners' hovels of Angel's Camp in the Sierras, Powers had a name as the genuine article: the first and worst of the California bad men.

I first crossed trails with Powers in the sleepy sunlit presidio town of Santa Barbara. Powers was a sergeant in Stevenson's regiment--New York boys they were--sent to garrison Santa Barbara against rebellion in the spring of '47. They were a crude, cutthroat band right from the beginning.


Laura Fabiani said...

I'm glad the suspense kept the book interesting for you.

Genre Reviewer said...

Thanks. :)