Book Review: Phantoms in the Night

This is an early California story when the conflict of who would sway influence over this western land was all over everyone’s minds. The main character, John Hayward, is spirited ashore in the dark of night. He is in search of Roger Bardine the U.S. consul who has vanished and foul play is suspected. Hayward’s mission is secret and he is presented with multiple opportunities to expose his identity, but his training enables him to maintain his disguise and continue the search for the U.S. consul. Initially I felt that this character was shallow and more like a cardboard figure instead of a true to life hero.

John is befriended by, Miguel Corado, amansador for the great Ranchero del Sur when they both end up in prison for drunkenness and fighting. He is pardoned along with Miguel to finish out his sentence at the Ranchero del Sur. From this point on the action and struggles acquired my interest and kept me going till the end of the story. I will tell you that the first fifty pages were hard for me to read and stay interested in the outcome of the story. I just really didn’t care about any of the characters until a love interest rose up and took charge of the main character while bringing along several of the other characters that I had no previous interaction with. The complex nature of Miguel initially eluded me and I was lost in his flip-flopping changes he had in his character.

The conflict and the reason for the escalation of tensions still elude me and I am unable to tell you exactly why these things were happening. Hopefully you will understand and possibly respond on my blog as to what was really happening. Read the story by Les Savage Jr. and let me know what you thought. I would not recommend this story to a large portion of western readers.

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