June 18, 2024


I Fall For Art

“Saving Tom Black” is an Outstanding, Highly Entertaining Western Novel

There’s a long-overdue, new voice in the Western genre belonging to Jere D. James, an author destined to help revive the traditional Western and to help keep the Spirit of the West alive!

Early reviews on Jere D. James’ first novel, Saving Tom Black, A Jake Silver Adventure (Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc., 2009) are outstanding, and after reading this fine novel, it’s absolutely obvious why.

Set mainly in Arizona in 1888, Saving Tom Black showcases a cast of Western characters that are truly memorable, from the adorable Betsy DuBonnet, a runaway from an Orphan Train who’s searching for her mother, to Thomas Jefferson, a black porter who befriends the girl and assists in helping her disguise herself as a boy he names Tom Black, to a young, tough, newly appointed U.S. Deputy Marshal, Jake Silver. Their lives intertwine in unforgettable, remarkable ways. Add to this trio, a small cast of secondary, extremely well-drawn characters, and the makings of a terrific book are in order. And, as Shirley Johnson, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review commented, even the animals take on captivating personalities

James does a brilliant job of pacing this story, and there’s never a dull moment or a wasted word. He brings laughter, tenderness, tears, and bloodshed to the page with ease and remarkable skill. For those who like action, this book has plenty.

James weaves the story to follow Betsy DuBonnet as she heads West, armed only with incredible courage, in search of her mother. One of the early, extremely humorous scenes, occurs when Betsy, disguised as Tom Black, is endeavoring to buy a horse at a train stop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the assistance of Thomas Jefferson. One does not even need to know horses to fully enjoy the hysterical events that follow, and readers will never forget Betsy’s first night on the trail after she meets U.S. Deputy Marshal Jake Silver.

One of the beauties of this story is that it is largely classic in style. Swearing is almost nonexistent other than a couple of “damns” and “hells.” Sex and sexual innuendo are strictly kept to traditional Western standards, and in this case, LESS is truly MORE. This is a book that can be recommended to all ages (14 and up) without a qualm. Although the author does not include Jake Silver in every single chapter, he is never more than one chapter a way, and both Betsy and Jake are brought up in those chapters in which they are absent.

The setting is superbly drawn and accurate, and historical figures appear regularly or are alluded to, and the author skillfully weaves these historical characters and incidents into the narrative. This book is quite literally unforgettable.

The book has been reviewed by Midwest Book Review, Western Fiction Review, Marshall Trimble (Official Arizona State Historian) and Steve Hayes, screen writer and Western author. All give the book a solid, enthusiastic two thumbs up. Other reviews are expected shortly, including Roundup Magazine and American Cowboy.

Saving Tom Black is available from the publisher at www.moonlightmesaassociates.com, amazon, and book dealers.