Nightingale

Published By: Hilliard & Harris Publishers

Book Category: Fiction, Westerns

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Reviewed by Bob Pike CSP, CPAE-Speakers Hall of Fame

Jim Nightingale, town marshal of Blanchard, Colorado is in Silver City, Colorado to help an old friend, Marshal Pete Holloway. Pete saved Nightingale's life by pulling him from the line of fire during a civil war battle and now Pete's down with ague (an illness) and Jim fills in for him.

Jim jails a couple of rowdies for roughing up a runaway. When they're released the next morning Jim has an uneasy feeling. They're so anxious to leave that they skip the free breakfast.

Two weeks later Nightingale returns to Blanchard to find the bank has been robbed by drifters riding horses that match the ones the rowdies rode out of Silver City. And during the robbery, a stray bullet kills his wife, Hallie, and their unborn child.

The compassion Jim learned during his marriage to Hallie is lost. His newfound anger is dangerous for a town marshal so Jim resigns to hunt down his wife's killers.

Two years later he is in Santee Wells and there begins a path that leads to justice, redemption, and a new life—not only for Jim, but for a town that's lost its way. And while it's not Jim's fight, but as he comes to know and respect some of the people of Santee Wells, he finds once again his moral compass—and with it a new love that can help him heal.

Swart's storytelling draws the reader in and makes you keep turning the pages. You feel Jim's grief, Pete's gratefulness, and the hopes and fears of the various townspeople of both Blanchard and Santee Wells. You experience the anger and frustration of being in a town that has lost its way. You believe you really know the people of Santee Wells who understand what needs to be done to save their town from a few wild Texas drovers, but don't have the grit to stand up to the town's founder.

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