FORT WORTH by Leonard Sanders

FORT WORTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another chunky, hackneyed family saga from the author of Sonoma (1981)--this one set in Fort Worth, Texas, from the 1860s to post-WW II, studded with the studs and intra-familial hostilities of the Spurlock Oil clan. In shock from the Civil War carnage which killed his father, raggedy young Travis Spurlock stumbles into Fort Worth and is taken in by a grizzled benefactor. Cleaned up and getting to be known around town, Travis is set up in a law apprenticeship; in no time he's a Fort Worth attorney to be reckoned with, a whiz at bone-shivering oratory. But Travis sows some wild oats before (and even after) he marries respectable Reva--and he's piling up real estate on brothel row while in public he's a solid churchman and leader of noble causes. (It's Travis who organizes a town-wide work gang to build a stalled railroad into Fort Worth in time to beat out Big D.) So Travis' high times--a US Senator stint, an assignment from T.R. to tap the secret soul of Edward VII--will end when preacher J. Frank Norris (the novel is raisined with celebs from Butch Cassidy to Katherine Anon Porter) squeals about Travis' brothel biz and sends him onto the skids. On, then, to the next generation--with Travis' four children. Clay, a future oil king, will marry the girl left behind by brother Vern, who dies in WW I; he'll have three legal heirs--solid Brod, lively Loren, sexy Crystelle--and illegitimate offspring too. Meanwhile, Clay's brother Durwood--who managed to inherit all of old Travis' worldly goods--is neatly ruined by Clay, driven to suicide. But, after Clay's death out on the oil fields, the third-generation will really wrangle over the family business empire, now capably managed by Brod: Durwood's son Troy, is building a merchandising chain; Glover, Clay's by-blow by nice Ellse, also wants in; nasty Crystelle is coiled like an adder. So murders and arson will be needed to tidy things off--with the survivor banking down his conscience with the conviction that he's doing the best for the remaining Spurlocks. Various dabs of solid info--from Fort Worthiana to oil drilling--but standard yard-goods all the same: an also-ran in the crowded oil-family saga sweepstakes.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1984
ISBN: 0875653138
Publisher: Delacorte