by Cynthia Chow
This week in honor of Earth Day we are once again featuring only ebooks. Here we have reviews of two crime stories by Nancy Cole Silverman–they are also available as audio books. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of The Salvantionist.
The Salvationist By Nancy Cole Silverman
Review by Cynthia Chow
When twenty-two year-old Miss Frannie Johnston arrives in Bisbee, Arizona in 1882, it is with the naive mission of bringing morality as a Salvation Army cadet. The town is virtually owned by mining tycoon Mr. Joseph Trumball, who very much prefers that the townspeople frequent his saloon and brothel. Even the Bisbee News is owned by the magnate, which explains why Frannie soon headlines as the “Shootin’ Salvationist” for twice having wielded a shotgun in her obsessive pursuit of forcing salvation upon an unwilling congregation.
Frannie’s attempt to rescue a young girl from a life of ill-repute does admittedly end with a bullet in Trumbell’s leg, but that is of course not the whole story. Frannie admits to perhaps being high and mighty, as well as inflexible, but she is also very determined to help those exploited by the greedy and ruthless mogul. Aided by a sympathetic sheriff, Frannie proves that despite being young, female, and inexperienced, she is the best weapon that the Salvation Army has against the tide of amorality.
This novella provides a fun look into the Wild West, where cultures clash and people are desperate and hopeful for a future of prosperity. Frannie’s initially rigid character grows as her repressive stubborn attitude helps her take an admirable stand against seemingly unstoppable forces. The author highlights the sensationalism of the tabloid newspaper, where the only goal is to sell papers with tales of mayhem, scandal, and instant wealth. Small details enrich the story, making this a light but impactful tale of a town reclaiming its soul.
A Much Married Woman By Nancy Cole Silverman
Review by Cynthia Chow
Just two years ago, she was Annabelle McKinsey. Now, in 1885, Annabelle is eighteen-year-old Mrs. Annabelle Spencer Allen Bosworth. Not only does she have three marriages in her past, she may also possibly be a third-time widow, as her latest husband has just dropped dead while on a train to San Francisco. Mr. Bosworth’s untimely demise has stranded Annabelle in the boomtown of Virginia City, Nevada, but salvation arrives in the unlikely form of an offer to work in the theatre owned by Jonathan O’Brien III. “JB” recognizes Annabelle as the “Bird in the Gilded Cage,” the girl in the red velvet swing who swung above a New York club’s stage owned by gangster Theodore Allen. He is the very same “Allen” who also happens to be her former (or maybe late, Annabelle didn’t want to ask too many questions) husband.
Watching Annabelle mature and develop relationships within the community is as enjoyable as the glimpse into the theater world of the late nineteenth century, a mix of Wild West amorality and repressive public moral restrictions. Annabelle is engaging and likable, and in this short tale readers will enjoy watching her display her talents behind the curtains as well as in front of them.
Watch KRL for a review of another of Nancy’s ebooks, Blood Drive, later this year, and for a review of her new bok soon!
To enter to win a copy of The Salvationist by Nancy Cole Silverman, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Silverman,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 25, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.