Arson! Cap Iversen

Ladymol's review:

I was brought up on the novels of Zane Grey and Louis LíAmour. I sat for hours of my childhood soaking in Western series like The High Chaperrel and Bonanza. Iíve always had a fascination for the cowboy and the wild west. I was predisposed to love this novel, and it didnít disappoint.

Dakota Taylor is a gun for hire. He kills men for a living. He loves men as his passion. Told entirely in the first person, Dakota relates the tale of how he meets Benjamin Colsen, the sole survivor of his familyís massacre.† This is an age-old tale of water rights, sheep in cattle land, and men who play out their passions with guns instead of words.

Itís an adventure, a mystery, and a romance. Confused by his better feelings for Bennie, Dakota finds himself making uncharacteristic decisions that threaten his life.

A colourful cast of characters is introduced, which I feel will appear in more of this series: Rusty, Dakotaís some-time colourful lover; Ryder, Dakotaís hard, gunslinging, more frequent lover; and Swift Running Deer, a beautiful Hopi Indian Chief, who Dakota takes one night high in the Sierra Bluffs.

The landscape in this novel is fundamental: it drives everything that happens, shapes and forms peoples lives and ultimately takes them, too.†

Not an explicit gay sex novel by any means; this one satisfies without the need for constant description of what is happening. Youíve got a stream of passion and desire running through the whole story as deep as the Eternal Spring, which is at the centre of the mystery.

Do not miss this book. Youíll fall in love with Dakota, and youíll want to read all the series.

Cerisaye's Review:

I was bereft when I finished this one.† And absurdly pleased to discover itís the first in a series.† Itís one of the best books Iíve read in a long time.† Then Iíve always been a sucker for Westerns, due to a childhood spent watching the movies and TV series back when the genre was far more popular.† Iím hoping the forthcoming big screen version of Brokeback Mountain will kick-start a revival.† In which case this book is crying out for movie treatment.

A novel in the fine tradition of masters of the Western Zane Gray and Louis LíAmour.† Although originating in the 90s itís a classic, written with obvious love and affection. I read the book on a decidedly cool French campsite, by the sea so I could hear surf and smell brine, but I was instantly transported to the heat and dust of 19th century Arizona, so dry it hurts to swallow, with the scent of sage in the air.† Magic.

Dakota Taylor is a gunslinger, a legend in his time, aged 30, tall and slender with brown wavy hair and a moustache.† Despite the name heís from San Francisco, which gives a quick clue as to his sexual orientation.† Yup, this boyís got an eye for manflesh thatís established on page one so we know where we are.† Dakota likes to bed down with men.† Says heís never met one he wouldnít climb down off his horse for.† Itís no big deal to him, and thatís really† refreshing; no shame or guilt.† He knows that what he does would get him hanged in more Ďcivilisedí society but this is the Wild West where the only law comes courtesy of Sam Colt. †No oneís putting Dakota in gaol:† ĎYou fight back.† And you die fighting.í

The sex in this book is tame and underplayed but donít let that put you off.† Itís the perfect book to introduce the novice to the delights of slash, yet thereís enough erotic tingle to please an old lag like me, proving sex doesnít have to be in-your-face to have an impact.† The UST level is pretty damn high.† Thereís a deliciously teasing will they/wonít they? romance between Dakota and handsome young rawhide Benjamin (Bennie) Colsen who employs the gunfighter to seek vengeance for a great wrong done to his family.† Bernie is a sheep farmer.† Now if you know anything about the history of the American West you know that spells trouble with a capital T.† Dakota hates sheep.† But Dakota is drawn to Bernie with an irresistible urge, so against the grain Dakota turns shepherd.† It must be love!†

Dakota alsoÖahemÖ engages with old buddy, another gunfighter, Ryder McCloud, and† piano-playing friend Rusty, who lives in Flagstaff with his dragon-lady mother, so severe even our manly hero quakes at the mention of her name.† Thereís a lovely interlude too with beautiful Hopi warrior Swift Running Deer.† Iím hoping each of these characters features again as the series progresses.† I want detail on those tantalising 2 weeks with Ryder in Santa Fe for starters.

Thereís enough plot to keep you guessing right to the very end in a tangled tale concerning greed, water rights, attitudes towards Native Americans, family relationships, love won and love lost, and the search for justice.† I canít recommend this book highly enough.† You simply have to read it, and, like me, fall madly in love with tough but vulnerable macho man with the heart of gold, Dakota Taylor.† Clint, eat your heart out- a manís gotta do what a manís gotta do, eh?