Vengence at Sundown: As Dry as Prairie Dust
Vengence at Sundown by Larry D Sweazy Book Review
I really wanted book with some action. I have plenty of mysteries and horrors lying about and I know they could be good. But I also know they be a slow burn and more disappointing than fun. So I went to the thrift store next door and found myself a pulp fiction little western. Knowing well westerns always can be fun, I gave it a shot. It’s called Vengence at Sundown by Larry D Sweazy.
The book focuses on ex civil war spy Lucas Fume, who was framed for murder of man. After being trapped in prison some time, a very large black man by the name of Zeke comes out of nowhere busts him out. The two go on a run together, evading the police, as Lucas learns someone paid Zeke to get him out but Zeke is not sure why. Zeke knows that he was paid for the job and the instructions of what to do next was lost with the horses that ran off during the gunfire. So they do the best they can to survive. Meanwhile we follow a circle of shady characters of Straut, Mr. Grips, and John Barlow who are going through a lot of trouble to keep a woman named Charlotte captive as they are trying to work out some sort of business deal in big ways.
So the good? The first couple of chapters were great and well… let’s just move on to the bad, shall we?
The bad? Detail was lacking. The story was dull as hell. After the escape nothing exciting happens until the last six pages. The characters were incredibly shallow and unrealistic. I mean Lucas Fume was a civil war spy, yet he bumbles his way through this tale like a lost puppy. The bad guys we followed for a long time with no sense of direction making me wonder why the author even bothered if they weren’t doing anything to add to the story. The first couple chapters started off dark, gritty, and well written hooking me immediately, making one heck of a first impression, and then lost me soon after as I realized how mundane the story really was. It was just so sanitized. The book wanted to be dark but never really was. It wanted to be adult by adding sex scenes but it read like a young adult novel. It wanted to explore racism in the old west, but beyond the first chapter it seemed sanitized. It wanted to be a thriller yet nothing provided any suspense or shock. It was just all meh. Also and one other thing. The author did use the word “negro” too many times. I must have been written down ten times on every page. He’s black. I got that when he’s was introduced, so please use other pro nouns like the man the guy, he, him, or how about we use his name. I see nothing wrong with that. It was just really annoying that author 80% of the time referred to one the main character as nothing more than “the negro.” Also there were scenes that don’t make sense. Fume sees his girlfriend somehow and its clear its not a dream and the book acts like it never happened. It felt like a chunk of another story stuck in the middle of the book. And the KKK is brought into the book at one point and the book completely forgets that’s a element that is written earlier.
Overall, this book is only 270 pages long, but it felt so much longer. It was just no good and badly written. Unless you must read everything that is western, by all means, read it. Just don’t say you haven’t been warned. For the rest of us, it’s a skip. This book is not worth your time.
Overall Rating: As Dry as Prairie Dust.