A Sheriff Aaron Mackey Western
By Terrence McCauley
Series books are done in two ways. The first being each
installment, though it might reference previous books, can stand on its own
merits providing the reader with a beginning, middle and end. The second
version is books are left with dangling plots forcing readers to pick up the
next volume to see how things turn out.
In the first book of this series, writer Terrence McCauley
gave is a tale that solidly adhered to option one; it stood complete by the
finale. If we never bothered to pick up another Sheriff Aaron Mackey book, we
would be okay with that. Whereas good writers generally do convince us to buy
their future output. Which was why we went out and purchased the next three
books in this series immediately, not wanting to miss any of them. We enjoy
McCauley’s work that much.
Still, half-way through “Dark Territory,”
we started getting that annoyed feeling that this one wasn’t going to wrap up
by the last page. And we were correct in that assumption. It’s a cliffhanger
that requires the reader to pick up the third book. Happy about that? Not
really. But hey, let’s get to the actual plot.
Having saved the town of Dover Station
Sheriff Aaron Mackey and his deputy, Billy Sunday, are concerned with how
quickly the place is growing. This all due to investments by a rich New York financier named
Rice. With the increased commerce brought by the railroad line, Rice sees
economic potential and leaves his partner, Van Horn in charge of steering the
town to its next level; one with lots of banks, hotels, restaurants etc. etc.
In other words create a real boomtown. It is at this juncture that we are
introduced to the story’s villain, an enterprising con artist named James
Grant. Grant has a complex past having acquired multiple skills that allow him
not only to manipulate others to do his bidding; he’s also ambitious and dreams
of fame and fortune. All of which he’s going to obtain by becoming Dover
Station’s Mayor and in so doing replace Rice’s vision with his own.
To accomplish this, Grant orchestrates Marxist inspired
trouble among the construction workers and then hires men to rob the railroad
to cause further unrest among the populace. His goal is to have Sheriff Mackey
and Deputy Sunday thrown out of office and replaced with his own municipal
police force. But Aaron Mackey’s no fool and he ultimately uncovers Grant’s
grandiose scheme. Unfortunately he doesn’t have the evidence to stop what Grant
has set in motion. Thus the book ends with no closure at all, leaving both
antagonists aware of the threat the other poses but with no resolution.
So to sum up. If you picked up book one of this series, you’ll likely get “Dark Territory” and enjoy it. We did. But honestly, we hate having to wait for that final big battle that’s brewing in Dover Station.