Jackie Clay, Backwoods Home’s most popular author, has followed up her first novel with a sequel that her fans hope will be the first of many, “Autumn of the Loons.” I enjoyed it as much as I did her first, “Summer of the Eagles.” You can order both here: https://www.backwoodshome.com/blogs/JackieClay/ .
“Autumn of the Loons” picks up a few years after the first novel, on a ranch in the Old Western frontier where the good folks who survived the first story (the bad folks didn’t) are building happy new lives. And then…
Look, I don’t do spoilers. Let me just say that as in the first book, there are life lessons that will resonate with anyone who lives or at least understands self-reliance and the backwoods home lifestyle. Things from the past that we all want to leave behind come back to haunt us, and have to be dealt with. Only adversity shows you who’s really your friend. Good deeds pay themselves forward in unexpected ways. Racial hatred seems never to end, but at least can be ameliorated between people of honor.
Jackie seems to have followed the long-standing advice to writers, “write what you know.” She does, and her evocative writing style puts you there with her characters. She makes you feel the heat and the terror of the onrushing wildfire, the icy rain and snow of encroaching winter where there’s no shelter you can’t fabricate yourself out of nature. Perhaps just for us geezers, there’s a moment where a seasoned veteran of life’s anguish uses his well-worn Colt Frontier .44-40 to put a homicidal young gunman with a state of the art double action Colt Lightning in his place, which happens to be six feet under.
The characters are well-drawn. Yes, there’s one stone evil psychopath who seems like a cartoon villain from a Charles Bronson movie, but there are people like that. She gives us another, more complex villain who’s a sociopath with enough humanity to redeem himself and save an innocent life before he meets his maker. And finally, as in her first novel, Jackie gives us Justice…DIY justice, it’s true, but the novel is set in a time and place where that’s pretty much the only kind available.
Like I said, I won’t spoil it for you. I’ll only say, read the book, and be standing by for the third in the series, “Winter of the Wolves.” As they say in my world, “Further, the affiant sayeth not.”