West Texas
Al Sarrantonio
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Buy *West Texas* online West Texas: A High Plains Mystery
Al Sarrantonio
181 pages
January 2006
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Lt. Thomas Mullin is the highest ranked black man in the US Army. Rising up through the ranks for such a one is nearly impossible during the days after the Civil War; due to a racist commander, Mullin isnít allowed to get any further. However, when a Senator's son comes up missing near the fort where Mullin still lives, he is called back into action. What he uncovers is so sickening and so horrifying that it will put all his skills to the test to bring the culprit to justice. None of this will be easy, especially as Mullin is surrounded by bigoted fools, hostile Indians, and a madman who's lurking in the hills. Not even the great detective Sherlock Holmes could solve this crime and come out alive; how can Mullins?

Curled Up With a Good BookWest Texas is set in the Old West immediately after the Civil War, when racism was high and there was little respect for blacks no matter how good they were. The characters in this book are portrayed accurately, which may make it hard reading for some. Taking the setting into account most should be able to get past this stumbling block.

Thomas Mullin, the main character, is a rare man in many ways. He taught himself to read in order to follow his favorite hero, Sherlock Holmes, and has a subscription to The Strand magazine to keep up with all of his adventures. He has risen to the rank of lieutenant in the US Army while being stationed in Texas, a Confederate State during the Civil War. All of these facts point to the fortitude and talent of this man. The antagonist within this story is a horrifyingly well-painted killer. Author Sarrantonio, best known for his editorial work on horror anthologies, doesn't make any mistakes in explaining the why or the how of this sick individual. Even the harshest of critics will not find fault with him on this score.

Sarrantonio has captured so many things within West Texas: the spirit of the Old West, the simmering resentment after the Civil War, the fight that blacks have to this day for respect and equal treatment. For fans of mystery and suspense books, this is yet another author to add to your list, right next to Patricia Cornwell and Jeffery Deaver.

© 2001 by Kim Lightfoot for Curled Up With a Good Book

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