Apache, the second novel in the Jake Silver Adventure series by newcomer author Jere D. James, is a gritty, dark, hard-core, action-packed Western novel. Far more traditional than James' first title, Saving Tom Black, Apache delivers punch after punch of shocking, action-filled scenes.
Set in Arizona, ca 1888, James sends his main character, US Deputy Marshal Jake Silver, on a blind search for his missing sister who, in order to escape the stigma of having an illegitimate child, left home to marry a ne'er- do-well, unknown rancher in southern Arizona. Finding Sophy is Jake's excuse for leaving the comforts of girlfriend Betsy DuBonnet (Saving Tom Black) but it's equally apparent that Jake's real motivation to leave on this quest is to have some time on the trail to sort things out regarding his relationship with Betsy and the subsequent expectations for marriage that he unhappily finds himself facing.
In the months since arriving in southern Arizona, however, Sophy Silver has been befriended by Nantan Lupan, the last of the Bodonkohe Apaches. James fully explores the taboos of a love affair between an Indian and white woman, showing society's abhorrence of such a liaison. One can not help but root for the hapless Indian, however, and hope that James will bring this enticing, excellently well-drawn character back in a future novel.
New to the series also is Captain Peter Burt, a man who is quite taken with the winsome Sophy Silver and aids the marshal in his search. Unlike the tender, often humorous Saving Tom Black, such is the seriousness of this work, that the only humor in the book comes from Burt. He is yet another character that this reviewer would like to see in a future title.
James does an excellent job in this book of adding a dark dimension to the heretofore perfect Deputy Marshal Jake Silver, which makes this character even more likeable and real. If Jake comes across as too good to be true in Saving Tom Black, that image is happily tarnished in this read.
This book takes many unexpected twists and turns as Jake Silver pursues his sister and her lover, and the outcome of this pursuit is remarkably fresh and unexpected. However, the ultimate end of the book will be surprising, even shocking.
James does an excellent job of paving the way for future books in the series, skillfully planting innuendos along the way. If this writer can continue in this vein, the Jake Silver Adventure series may prove to be as long-lasting and popular as some of the other great. Western series.