Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Escape to Hangtown"

Larry D. Sweazy (pronounced: Swayzee) is the author of ten novels, Escape from Hangtown, See Also Murder: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery, Vengeance at Sundown, The Gila Wars, The Coyote Tracker, The Devil's Bones, The Cougar's Prey, The Badger's Revenge, The Scorpion Trail, and The Rattlesnake Season. He won the WWA (Western Writers of America) Spur award for Best Short Fiction in 2005 and for Best Paperback Original in 2013. He also won the 2011 and 2012 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction for books the Josiah Wolfe series. He was nominated for a Derringer award in 2007 (for the short story "See Also Murder"), and was a finalist in the Best Books of Indiana literary competition in 2010. Sweazy was awarded the Best Books in Indiana in 2011 for The Scorpion Trail. And in 2013, he received the inaugural Elmer Kelton Fiction Book of the Year for The Coyote Tracker, presented by the AWA (Academy of Western Artists). Sweazy has published over sixty nonfiction articles and short stories, which have appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine; The Adventure of the Missing Detective: And 25 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories!; Boys' Life; Hardboiled; Amazon Shorts, and several other publications and anthologies. He lives in the Midwest with his wife, Rose.

Sweazy applied the Page 69 Test to Escape from Hangtown:
From page 69:
“You look like your sister,” Little Ling said with a whisper.

You knew my sister? For some reason, the announcement of such a thing surprised Celia—until she looked closer.
This start of the first full paragraph on page 69 of Escape from Hangtown is representative of the book, and I’m glad of that. Even though this is a Lucas Fume Western novel, I really think this is Celia Barlow’s book. Celia was beaten within an inch of her life for falling in love with Zeke Henry, a black man, for breaking a terrible taboo of the time, even though no innocent lines had been crossed. The beating left Celia paralyzed, but wholly alive and unable to speak, unable to care for herself in any way. Lucas Fume’s goal in this book is to prove that Zeke Henry is innocent of harming Celia, that the perpetrator of the horrible assault was actually her father, the power senator, Lancaster Barlow. Lucas wants Zeke to be as free as he is; a repayment for Zeke’s efforts to see Lucas free of being falsely imprisoned in the first book (Vengeance at Sundown) of the series. It’s a tough task for Lucas, wrought with peril, and the first part of his plan is to take possession of Celia and get her in a safe place. Little Ling is her caretaker, a longtime family friend who has sided with Lucas. This scene takes place shortly after Celia has been whisked away from a neglectful sanatorium, and she starts to find some long sought after comfort. Lucas’s intervention has given Celia something she thought would never have again, at least in this life… She now has a glimmer of hope, and that, ultimately, is what this book is about.
Learn more about the book and author at Larry D. Sweazy's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Larry D. Sweazy & Brodi and Sunny (April 2011).

Coffee with a Canine: Larry D. Sweazy & Brodi and Sunny (April 2013).

Writers Read: Larry D. Sweazy.

My Book, The Movie: Escape to Hangtown.

--Marshal Zeringue