The Making Of Jake McTavish by D. M. McGowan

the-making-of-jake-mctavish-by-d-m-mcgowanIn the west of the 1890s, Jake’s wife is raped and murdered, an image from which he attempts to escape and hide. When two thieves try to take what little he has left, Jake realizes he must face the past and solve his wife’s murder to truly escape the images in his head. But to find the killer, he discovers even more surprises …

Jake McTavish left his home in central Canada when he was in his Winnipeg, feeding cattle south of Fort Garry, and shooting wolves on the prairies, he starts his own cattle operation in the foothills of the western mountains. Then he meets his life-long partner, Anna.

Jake and Anna were married three years when it all came crashing down. He came home to find his beautiful wife raped and murdered. In an attempt to escape the vision of his butchered wife and all that he lost, Jake runs deep into the mountains, where he spends three years trapping and panning gold.

When two outlaws attempt to rob him and leave him for dead, Jake finally comes out of the stupor he has lived in and begins to fight back. First he deals with the two thugs. Next he returns to his homestead to find his wife’s killer. Solving a murder after several years is no easy task, especially when it includes surprises he didn’t want to find.

After a variety of work experiences, D. M. McGowan has now returned to work as a commercial driver and lives near Mile “0” of the world-famous Alaska Highway. His books bring Canadian history to life. This is his fourth published book. Publisher’s website: http://sbprabooks.com/davidmmcgowan

Genre: Historical Fiction, Western with a focus on Canada.

Book Review

The Making of Jake McTavish by D. M. McGowan is an 1800’s western pioneering era saga that combines exceptional story telling with an historical tale told by Peace Country pioneer John Brown.

Well-developed characters and true to life settings with descriptive writing put the reader into the story. The main character Jake McTavish stands alone in his empty cabin with his thoughts that he voiced to his blue tick hound, “Maybe I’ll just have t’shoot somebody. That way the government will have t’ feed us ‘til they punch my ticket and bury me.”

Life had been especially hard since the murder of his wife. For the fourth year he must continue his Peace River trek in British Columbia (1898) to take the furs that he had collected by canoe down to Ft. St John. This is an important ritual as Jake trades bails of skins for cash to pay for supplies and to repair equipment heading into the new season. Times were hard enough without the ambush that knocked him out cold and took most of everything that he had in his camp.

Just 11 years ago “in the spring of 1887 Jake became a wealthy saddle tramp. He only had fourteen Canadian dollars, two U.S. dollars and eighty six cents, but he was rich in other goods. He had four horses, a fine, double rigged saddle, a short barrelled Colt pistol, a Colt Navy .36 and a Winchester rifle. He also had a serviceable pack saddle, bed roll, enough food to last a month and the pack covered with two tarps.”

By 1889 Jake had spent two years with the Cambridge Cattle Company and had accumulated some money. With a deep yearning for something more and the passing of the Canadian Homestead Act, Jake chose three hundred and twenty isolated acres in the foothills north of the Rocky Mountains. In the fall of 1891 with 15 yearlings to sell he met Anna Porenski. When she married him he no longer felt driven, because he had it all. Anna was raised on a farm, so ranch life came easy to her and she enjoyed gardening. The only thing missing are children for fate has refused to grant Jake and wife Anna a baby. To end such dreams Anna is murdered and the responding Mounted Policeman comes close to accusing Jake.”

Travel with Jake McTavish on a journey to find Anna’s killer or killers.

Theodocia McLean endorses The Making of Jake McTavish by D. M. McGowan for the author’s incredible story telling of Jake McTavish. I invite you to also read: The Great Liquor War, Homesteader: Finding Sharon and Partners. D. M. McGowan tells us that Cattle Business is coming soon. I purchased and reviewed this book in a Kindle format. This review was completed on December 20, 2015.

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The Great Liquor War by D. M. McGowan

the-great-liquor-war-by-d-m-mcgowenThe year is 1885. Hank James has been in Canada several months panning gold from a stream near Roswell, British Columbia. When he hears a prizefight will be held in town, he attends along with everyone for miles around. With a little help from the fight referee, he wins big betting on the fight. Having realized that the life of a miner isn’t nearly as romantic or rewarding as he expected, and with advice from the policeman who helped him win money on the fight, Hank goes to Farwell to haul freight with pack horses for contractors building the transcontinental railroad.

The railroad’s security, a detachment of North West Mounted Police, have maintained across the West that no liquor be allowed one mile on either side of the rail bed. Provincial authorities disagree. Hank James believes in honoring and repaying his debts, but that doesn’t mean he should be involved in a war between the BC Provincial Police and the North West Mounted.

He and his partners have trouble enough running their freight business, they don’t need to be caught between competing policemen. They are already stuck between Canada’s transcontinental railroad people and the contractors doing the actual construction. While the police are fighting one another, who is looking for criminals, particularly those stealing Hank’s horses? Despite a variety of jobs, D.M. McGowan now works as a commercial driver and lives near Mile “0” of the world-famous Alaska Highway.

His stories bring Canadian history to life. “I believe in seeing morality and societal responsibility rewarded. Too much of today’s fiction seems to lead into the dark instead of the light.”

Book Review

The Great Liquor War by D. M. McGowan is a western pioneering era saga that combines great story telling, true-to-life cowboy experience with US and Canadian history combined with legends from the 1800’s.

The main character Hank James was born in Canada and migrated south into the US with his family after the Civil War. Hank’s father headed towards Oregon in search of a farmstead while protecting his family from raids by outlaws and Indians. They made it as far as Kansas to find that the land was too dry to farm so pushed on to Oregon to find the land was too wet. With Mother Nature as their biggest obstacle and many mouths to feed young Hank James set out on his own. He settled down with his own gold mine claim near Rossland, British Columbia in 1984.

Hank wasn’t afraid of hard work, but he wanted more out of life than to eke out a living on his claim. With tenacity Hank took advantage of the Transcanada Railroad, found some partners and started his own freight business. Life should be good, but where there is industry, technology, commerce and economy, there are criminals.

In all my reviews I quote a passage so readers can get a feel for the authors writing style. I quote from page 37.

“It didn’t take a detective to know that the horse thief had played a little joke on the Provincial Police. Constable Art Hubbard was over six feet tall and probably ten pounds lighter than the one eighty mentioned in the description. Not only was he a long way from round, he was also clean shaven.

I gave Constable Hubbard my story, ending with the recovery of the bay gelding and the description I had from Miller. “An’ the fella called himself Art Hubbard,” I added.

The Constable’s expression didn’t change. He worked his chew around into one cheek and sent a stream of tobacco juice into the waste basket. “Feller with a sense o’ humor,” he noted, and then added. “It’ll be one ‘o Bulldog Kelley’s outfit. They work out o’ some of the illegal saloons t’ be found back in the bush. We catch one or two of ‘em every now an’ then, but we can’t get Kelley, an’ he’s the head o’ the snake. I can think of one or two that might fit your description, but not a one that had a full beard. An’ this fella’s probably shaved by now.”

I wrote out my story, signed it, and returned to work.”

Between the horse thieves, authority over liquor sales and a war between the BC Provincial Police and the North West Mounted Hank is he in over his head? Only time will tell if he makes the right choices and will he win the heart and loyalty of Sharon Dalton?

Saddle up your horse, holster your gun and join a rugged western cast of characters that will take you back to the reality and the legends of the Wild West.

Theodocia McLean endorses The Great Liquor War by D. M. McGowan for the nuggets of history told within a great story of human experience in the Wild West. This review was completed on August 11, 2015.

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Homesteader: Finding Sharon by D. M. McGowan

homesteader-finding-sharonStaking a claim to a homestead in the rugged, untamed Canadian frontier of the 1880’s was hard enough. But when someone tries to run roughshod over the “nesters,” a man has to take a stand. There is more than bad weather for Hank James to contend with as he rides in search of the land of his dreams and the woman of his heart. Portis Martin, manager of a large cattle company, has no use for the small homesteaders that have begun to pepper the area…and he isn’t afraid of using every dirty trick he knows to run them out. And Portis had been doing a pretty good job of it-until Hank James and his partner arrive on the stage. The dreams of early homesteaders were not always strong enough to see them through adversity, but with Hank James on their side, the people might just find a way of uniting for the common good and building a dream that can endure.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Western with a focus on Canada.

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