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Friday, November 16, 2012

Mooner by Selah Janel

Mooner by Selah Janel
Publisher: No Boundaries Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (19 pages)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Astilbe

Like many young men at the end of the 1800s Bill has signed on to work in a logging camp to earn a fast paycheck to start his life. Unfortunately his role model is Big John, the camp’s golden boy known for blowing his pay as fast as he makes it. On a cold Saturday night they enter Red’s Saloon to forget the work that takes the sweat and the lives of so many. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows, something that badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door or does someone have their own plans for his future?

Start with a few dozen men who make their living in a socially isolated and extremely dangerous occupation. Add copious amounts of whiskey, one cup of tall tales, a teaspoon of sexual tension, and four heaping tablespoons of ill intentions. Stir vigorously. The result? A recipe for disaster.

Nineteenth-century saloons are no place for people who trust others easily. From the moment a gullible young man named Bill walks in with an older companion the proprietors of Red’s Saloon smell trouble. As soon as I thought I knew what was going on, though, Ms. Janel massaged the plot into directions I never would have predicted it would go. If this is any indication of her writing ability and creativity I cannot wait to read more of her work in the future.

It took a few paragraphs for me to adjust to the colloquialisms and non-standard speech patterns used by these characters. I had to look up a few words and phrases with which I was unfamiliar but once I grew accustomed to how the characters spoke the author’s use of authentic dialogue created such a vivid picture in my mind of what happened to these characters that it felt as though I was sitting in the saloon alongside them. I can still smell the potent combination of sawdust, blood and stale sweat lingering in the air and even though I’ve never actually tasted it I almost believe I’m a connoisseur of whiskey as well!

I had some difficulty deciding whether to classify Mooner as a mystery or as science-fiction/fantasy. The two genres are effortlessly blended that in some ways this is two stories in one. Fans of either one will be delighted by this fast-paced, exciting story full of shocking twists.