Wednesday, January 25, 2023

SAVAGE MESA - A New Adventure of Tom Mix by Scott McCrea

Savage Mesa, the second novel (of five, so far) in Scott McCrea’s Tom Mix series, is a big departure from the first. While that one, Mountain Killer (reviewed HERE), was a western murder mystery, Savage Mesa is pure adventure, with a larger cast, a wider setting and a more complex plot.          

In this book, we meet a varied cast of characters even before our hero even makes the scene: Among them: a gang of outlaws intent on stealing the printing plates for a new five-dollar bill; a band of renegade Comanches who see rampaging terror as a means of restoring the tribe’s lost glory; a widow and her young son at the mercy of love-starved bachelors; an aging Civil War hero and his wife; a circus magician and his comely daughter; a hard-bitten Army captain; the sheriff and deputy of Wichita; the designer of the five-dollar plates, and an intrepid agent of the U.S. Treasury.

Until the story comes to a boil Tom Mix is just one of an ensemble cast. But roughly halfway through, he takes center stage, with the rest of the cast revolving around him. At this point in his career, Mix is still doing a little part-time marshaling out of Dewey, Oklahoma (true fact), but his main job seems to be performing in the Miller 101 Circus. He apparently has yet to break into the movies.

After a brief visit to the circus, the story takes off on a harrowing journey through the skies and across the plains to Utah, taking Tom and his crew to Robber’s Roost, the fabled hideout once used by the Wild Bunch. Each person in the band meets his or her fate in one fashion or another, some finding redemption, some peace, and some something far less pleasant. It’s a complex adventure, well told, that goes far beyond merely “a tale of Tom Mix.”

There’s some fine storytelling here, and I look forward to seeing what the author has in store for us in the rest of the series. 

There are three more books in the series (so far) and I look forward to see where Mr. McCrea takes them. 

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