THE LEGEND OF WATERHOLE BRANCH by Lucas R. Wright

THE LEGEND OF WATERHOLE BRANCH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Wright’s debut thriller, a man tries to outwit a group of thugs that thinks that he knows the location of a long-lost Spanish treasure.

Hunter Pierce, with a gun to his head, tells Roberto and Abilio Ibanez and their cohorts that he can lead them to a fortune in gold reputedly hidden by Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda back in the 16th century. The Ibanez family has been looking for the treasure for a long time. Fourteen years earlier, their search took them to Waterhole Branch in Alabama, where they massacred Hunter’s family and abducted Hunter’s childhood friend Camilla and her mother. In the present day, Hunter tries to find a way to escape the Spanish family’s clutches, as well as save the kidnapped Camilla, still by Abilio’s side. Luckily, Hunter texted a plea for help to friend and former Navy SEAL Brian Andrews, but he can stall the bad guys for only so long. The novel opens with a Glock 19 pressed against Hunter’s temple. This, unsurprisingly, makes way for many flashbacks, but Wright knows how to generate suspense; readers won’t know whether Hunter has found the gold until halfway into the book. Some of the flashbacks follow a preteen Hunter growing up in Alabama with Camilla and Brian. These interrupt tense moments with the protagonist and the armed Spaniards but are generally pertinent scenes, like the young trio’s rather ferocious paintball game that foreshadows Hunter and Brian’s evading men with real guns. But the back story can, on occasion, be extraneous. Hunter, for example, becomes obsessed with finding the gold (revenge for the men killing his family), but we don’t need the overlong description of his pledging a fraternity to “make powerful friends.” Wright ably chronicles a protagonist tortured by the loss of his family: Hunter’s determination to acquire the treasure gradually takes over his life, and he starts drinking heavily, eventually dabbling in cocaine. There’s a hint of what happened during Camilla’s 14-year capture, but the fascinating subplot is unfortunately over too soon. An explosive ending, however, with gunfire and a grenade or two, is drawn out to a gratifying conclusion.

Fans of the treasure-hunting subgenre will be more than satiated with this solid outing.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1496942999
Page count: 392pp
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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