Jake Harwood Review
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After his wife leaves him, Jake Harwood decides that he’s had enough of being a lawman, so he strikes out toward California gold country. Along the way, he rescues a young woman after an Apache war party attacks her wagon train. Jessica Raymond is the only survivor. Together, they head to a small Mexican village called Adobe Crossing to report the attack and gather supplies for the long trip to California.

Jessica fled her home in New Orleans after setting a hotel on fire and quite possibly killing a man named Blackie Le Font. Now she just wants to get as far away as possible, so she talks Jake into letting her ride along with him. Unfortunately for her, Blackie might not be dead, and he could be coming after her for revenge.

As they set out on their journey through Apache territory, they both have hope for a better future, but many obstacles lie ahead of them—including an Apache warrior named Maco, who’s set his sights on Jessica.

Despite a few small beginner mistakes, Jake Harwood isn’t a bad western, but it’s not entirely good, either. The action and suspense keep the story moving along at a swift pace, and I learned a few things about the Apache Tribe that I hadn’t known before. Still, I couldn’t seem to get truly involved with the characters—especially Jessica. She comes across as wishy-washy as she keeps going back and forth between wanting Jake then wanting Maco. In the same way, Jake and Maco tend to go back and forth with each other. First they’re friends; then they’re trying to kill each other. And this goes back and forth throughout the entire book to the point of being ridiculous. And as Jake and Maco keep stealing Jessica back from each other, it’s almost comical.

For such a short read (just 108 pages), Jake Harwood also has too much conflict—all of which kept getting resolved way too easily. The unfocused plot doesn’t really seem to be going anywhere, either—except in circles—and Jake and Jessica don’t even begin the journey to California until near the end, making the trip feel rushed.

With a little more focus and more character depth, Jake Harwood could have been a good western, but it falls far short of that. On the other hand, though, if you’re just looking for a fast read with plenty of action and no story depth, you might enjoy it.

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