Larry Sweazy's new novel is another action-packed page-turner. Vengeance at Sundown thrusts us into a post-Civil War Tennessee State Prison scenario with a plot that unpeels, layer by layer, like an onion, until we get to the heart of human destiny that's simultaneously universal and particular.
Lucas Fume, unjustly accused of murder is serving a life sentence. Why did no one come to his defense at the time of the trial seven long years ago? Yet he perseveres despite the maniacal machinations of Lanford Grips and the deceits of Charlotte Brogan. What transpires 306 pages after the baited first sentence is as much a socio-economic panorama of the mid-19th century opening of the West as it is a story of human foibles where greed, jealousy, vengeance, fear over-ride decency, friendship, love.
Chapter by chapter we march toward answering that primal why for a wrongful accusation. Sweazy develops this new Western series with the same ability to create multi-dimensional characters, vivid locations and true-to-life situations that have earned accolades for his previous award-winning novels, including the widely popular Josiah Wolfe Texas Rangers series.
As an amalgamation of genres — Western, detective, mystery, historical realism — this new series takes us into the heart of our nation and the hearts of the people who were carving it out from under the lives of the original inhabitants whose bad luck it was to be in the path of Manifest Destiny. It's our un-pretty story that keeps repeating itself.
Noblesville resident Sweazy has won the Western Writers of America (WWA) Spur Award for Best Short Story of 2005 and Best Paperback Western Novel of 2013, the Will Medallion Award in 2011 and 2012, and was honored with the Best Book of Indiana in 2011 for his Josiah Wolfe series.
July 23, 7 p.m.: "So You Want To Be A Writer" presentation at Fishers Public Library
Aug. 5, 5 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, Noblesville
Aug. 8, 5 p.m. at Nickel Plate Arts, Noblesville; opening of an exhibition of Sweazy's Western-themed photographs
Aug. 9, 1 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, 8675 River Crossing Blvd.
Aug. 20, 5 p.m. at IndyReads Books