Minotaur, Jul 7 2009, $25.99
By December 1893, with the mine for practical purposes useless, the town of Abandon, Colorado is dying. Still there are plenty of residents from unemployed miners to hookers wondering when to move to the next gold mine and gunslingers seeking to kill their way to a fortune. Bart Packer found ninety-one Spanish gold bars by the headless skeletal remains of what he assumed was a conquistador. However, someone kills him and hides his horde in the mine. Soon afterward, everyone vanishes without a trace.
In 2009 historian Lawrence Kendall persuades his daughter whom he deserted as a child years ago reporter Abigail Foster to accompany him and married couple paranormal photographers Emmett and June Tozer to visit the ghost-town of Abandon, Colorado. He has heard of the gold, but thinks the treasure is learning what happened to the residents. A blizzard isolates the investigative party and former marines assault them with demands they find the gold for them. All the answers are in the grisly mines.
Filled with gore and blood, this starts off with a terrific premise that is enhanced with the rotation between eras’ subplots. However, when the marines invade, the modern subplot turns from a psychological suspense to an action thriller that pales in spite of the gore next to the horrors of the Gilded Age scenario. Still Blake Couch provides an interesting tale filled with action of a ghastly and gruesome kind.