Wolfpack Publishing LLC
Paperback (also available as an e-book), 978-1-6473-4051-3, 414 pgs., $17
August 5, 2020
H. H. Lomax may not be the Indiana Jones of the Wild West, but he gets himself into more tight spots and risky getaways than most other mule-riding action heroes.
North to Alaska, the sixth book in the entertaining and clever H. H. Lomax Western “memoir” series, has recently been released by Wolfpack Publishing and Lomax’s “editor,” San Angelo novelist Preston Lewis.
Open any Lomax Western and you find yourself running into amusing stampedes of famous and infamous people, legendary settings, historic situations, and comic exaggerations. Lomax, of course, stays front and center and keeps getting into trouble while just “trying to make a name for himself or a fortune that would set him up for his final years,” Lewis reports.
In Book 6, Lomax encounters several well-known nineteenth-century figures, plus a few that Old West scholars likely would insist never existed. He becomes a bodyguard for the legendary Denver madame Mattie Silks. He escorts the stern, determined suffragist Susan B. Anthony when she visits a male-dominated mining town—and even makes her laugh. And in Alaska, his rescue of a dog inspires a young writer who soon will be known worldwide as Jack London.
Lomax also gets into the saloon business, is swindled out of a mining fortune, and gets crosswise with Soapy Smith, one of the nineteenth century’s most notorious (and real) con artists. Furthermore, Lomax gets accused of murder and has to outwit a frontier assassin.
A character-revealing exchange occurs early in the book as a naive H. H. Lomax heads into Denver in 1877, searching for work. He’s hungry and down to his last three dollars. He finds himself riding his mule alongside a mystery man on a black stallion, “wearing a dark suit, black boots that shined and a larcenous smile that didn’t. … I took the fellow as either a prosperous preacher or a broke gambler.”
The mystery man asks him, “You interested in making a dollar?”
Lomax responds, “An honest dollar or a crooked dollar?”
The mystery man replies, “They’re one and the same.”
Lomax realizes: “Now I couldn’t decide whether my newfound friend was a preaching gambler or a gambling preacher.” (He turns out to be an undertaker.)
Using a historical-fiction memoir format in this series has worked well for Lewis, a Spur Award-winning author of twenty-six Western, young-adult, and historical novels. The series also has created some comic moments for Lewis’s book sales. For example, when the previous H. H. Lomax Western, First Herd to Abilene, was released as a Kindle book earlier this year, it quickly soared to number one—in Amazon’s Western Science Fiction sales category. “I have no idea how it got on the Western Science Fiction list or exactly what Western Science Fiction is,” Lewis has confessed on his Facebook page.
The other books in the Memoirs of H. H. Lomax series are: The Demise of Billy the Kid, The Redemption of Jesse James, Mix-Up at the O.K. Corral, and Bluster’s Last Stand.
Needless to say, H. H. Lomax has now muddled his way through plenty of violent territory on muleback and somehow managed to survive, despite his frequent streaks of bad luck. Preston Lewis knows how to blend Wild West history, famous people, and western fiction and keep stirring up hilarious results.
Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of thirty novels. In addition to his two Western Writers of America Spurs, he received the 2018 Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Humor for Bluster’s Last Stand, the fourth volume in his comic Western series, The Memoirs of H. H. Lomax. Two other books in that series were Spur finalists. His comic Western The Fleecing of Fort Griffin received the Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association for best creative work on the region.