Go by Go

Jon A. Jackson, Author
Jon A. Jackson, Author Dennis McMillan Publications $30 (350p) ISBN 978-0-939767-31-1
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The author of the excellent, unfettered Fang Mulheisen stories (Man With an Axe, 1998) shifts direction in both subject and style with this historical novel. Union activist Frank Little is murdered in the copper mining town of Butte, Mont., in 1917. More a patsy than a plotter, Goodwin Ryder is a young Pinkerton detective who arrives in town, befriends Little, falls for a miner's wife and struggles vainly both to save his job and to save Little, a charismatic orator, a homosexual and the man Ryder's sinister superiors want dead. The narrative fast-forwards about 30 years to Hollywood where Ryder has become a pulp-fiction writer and a drunk who gets a chance to come clean about his role in Little's untimely death. Although Jackson imparts no fresh Tinseltown lore, the second section possesses far more life than the scenes set in Montana. Aimed at readers interested in the period and places, this novel doesn't offer much to satisfy fans of Fang. (Sept.)
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