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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Linus Jackson is a Western novel written by Margaux Sky. All of the legal trouble that Linus currently found himself in had started as his granddaughter’s tribute to her beloved grandfather. Linus and Maxinne were the best of friends, and, when her English teacher had assigned a term paper, she decided to write about her grandfather’s life. By the oddest of chances, her teacher was the grandson of a man Linus had had dealings with many years before that. James Blakely was a petty and ambitious man. He knew his grandfather had been evil and cruel; he even had pictures of the brigand complete with tattoos proclaiming him the Devil’s Pet, but Blakely still wanted to see Linus Jackson hang for Jim Blakely’s murder. He had filed the charges and somehow the Gypsum, Colorado court decided to hear the case of a decades-old killing that had occurred in what was now a ghost town in Idaho. Linus would attend the trial along with his attorney, his son and daughter-in-law, and Maxinne ever-present. And while the judge was of a mind to declare a mistrial and send all concerned back to their homes, Linus believed it was time to set the record straight, time to share his story.
Margaux Sky’s Western novel, Linus Jackson, is an enthralling historical legal thriller that reaches back to the late 1800s when Linus was a young man. Sky’s tale is not your stereotypical Western. There are no shootouts in corrals, and no brawlers fall from the second-floor balcony of the local saloon and watering hole. Instead, there’s a real life history of people in the Western territories, the white settlers and the remnants of the Cherokee nation living out their lives in uneasy harmony. There’s also the underlying thread of the hatred that drives Manfred Axsom to slaughter first Linus’ parents, brother and animals, and then his wife, sister and unborn child, and Linus’ need to exact retribution for both himself and his wife’s family.
Linus Jackson is a marvelous story; it’s beautifully written with incomparable nature scenes that make that unspoiled territory brilliantly come alive. You can feel the cold as Linus and his friends, when they are lost on a mountain in a snowstorm, shiver, grow numb and wait for death, and you can see Unega urgently pawing at the earth as she seeks Nanette’s assistance in saving Linus’s life. I am not a fan of the typical Western tale, but I was intrigued by the premise of this novel and decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. Linus Jackson is most highly recommended.