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The Mask of Anonymity: A Story of the…
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The Mask of Anonymity: A Story of the American West

by Preston Malone

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This outstanding debut Western tells the early history (1881-1884) of a legendary fictional Wild West hero. The author leaves it up to the reader to figure out, as the novel progresses, who this well-known hero is, so I won’t spoil it. But it really doesn’t matter whether you figure it out early, later, or at the very end when he tells you in the “Author’s Note.” Whenever you figure it out, you’ll smile and think: “Well, of course!”

This is a remarkably well-written genre Western about an awe-inspiring gentleman gunslinger…a man endowed with instantaneous reflexes, and amazing physical and mental abilities; these traits make it possible for him to outwit and out gun the bad guys no matter how impossible the odds seem at the beginning. He’s a gun for hire. His business card and the ebony grip of his Colt pistol read “Justice for Sale,” but that doesn’t stop him from stepping in “for free” to help the poor and helpless when evil materializes at their door. He knows he can outmaneuver the enemy and easily get his fee from the evildoers as he pursues them, metering out clever forms of frontier justice.

As many of the reviewers on this page warn, this book is full of violence of all types, including violence against women in the form of brutal rapes and other types of physical and mental torture. However, more often than not, this violence is balanced by humor, witty dialogue, and convoluted brilliant plotting that will keep you smiling. The good guys always triumph in the end. Isn’t that why we read books like this?

In the author’s concluding remarks, he makes it clear that his goal was to reinvent his legendary hero in a more authentic setting. The original hero was geared toward children; this author’s version is very adult: realistic, psychologically complex, and sexy. The author discusses that there is considerable historical evidence to suggest that our popular view of this period and place is too tame. In reality, the Western United States at that time was a far more violent place than it has been portrayed in popular media. At the end of the book, the author explains why he found it historically necessary to recreate the Wild West world around this legendary figure with far greater violence and moral depravity than the original creator of the legend. He does this for authenticity…and from what I know and have read about this period in history, I am on his side with this one. In addition, the authenticity allows the author to create one heck of a powerful literary and emotional punch.

This is fun, action-packed, well-researched and well-written genre fiction. If you are drawn to heroic battles where good wins over evil and you’re not turned off by realistically violent and sexually explicit scenes, then this book will certainly not disappoint. ( )
  msbaba | Dec 23, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0615790135, Paperback)

"Stayed up all night reading. Couldn't put it down" - M.E. Watts

"When it ends it still lingers in your memory. Realistic. Best western I've ever read" - James McCormick

Compelling - broadly appealing, far more than a Western - a total immersion   (Warning: contains graphic violence and sex)

The line between justice and vengeance blur as a secretive gunman faces the evil threatening his clients. If he is to survive he must abandon all that is decent and become more brutal than the vicious men arrayed against him. The most famous of Western legends will never be the same!

A beautifully written novel that paints the American West in dazzling fidelity - hard-edged, historically accurate and fast-paced - fiction at its finest.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:53 -0400)

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