Tag Archives: Thriller

Anahuac – My Review

A Texas Story (Volume 2)
  Genre: Historical Fiction / Thriller
Publisher: Canned Peas Productions
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 244

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The Anahuac of 1972 is more than just an isolated outpost on Texas’s Trinity Bay – it’s a place where greed and justice uncomfortably intermingle, where the evangelical fervor of charismatic preachers resonate, where blacks and whites navigate a fragile co-existence, and where a murder leads to even darker mysteries than murder. 
Jim Ward, introduced in Morgan’s Point as a young, idealistic Houston prosecutor, returns in Anahuac as an older, more conflicted, more complicated man, coming to Anahuac to defend a man who appears guilty of a horrible crime. His discoveries lead to entanglements in the very nature of good and evil, in a town that is at once of its time and timeless, steeped in a history that is unexpectedly but definitively drawing Ward in its narrative web.

“Austin writer William D. Darling’s second novel, Anahuac, is an entertaining, engrossing legal thriller that offers both darkly humorous and good-natured thrusts at life, love, and law . . . first-rate reading, especially for readers who enjoy legal thrillers, lawyer procedurals, suspense, Texas settings, and characters who live large.” – Lone Star Literary Life
“Darling draws vivid portraits of his setting while also bringing in historical currents like women’s liberation, the growth of container shipping, and the rise of the prosperity gospel, adding interest to what’s otherwise a fairly simple courtroom drama.” – Kirkus Reviews
I’m a Texan originally from the east coast who’s had occasion to meet some of these characters from another planet. Darling weaves us through the minds of lawyers with jealousies, insecurities, questions of faith, honor, and guilt as they tackle the case of a horrible crime that has the potential to put a man of God away forever. I held on tight as we went through the engrossing trial, which did not disappoint! If you love history, crime, passion, religion, and suspense, this is a must read! – Kristy Recker (an Amazon reviewer)



Anahuac – My Review

The defendant is presumed innocent. The indictment is not evidence of guilt. The state’s burden is to prove guilt beyond a “reasonable doubt,” not all doubt. The jury is the judge of the credibility of the witnesses. The key words were in the circumstantial evidence paragraph.

Anahuac by author William Darling main foundation is a fast-paced journey of showing readers how small-town Texas law really worked in the 1970s. The story starts off with Sarita Jo Franklin, who was well known as a strong woman who didn’t back down from anyone. Immediately, I was drawn to her character, so much so that when she was killed off it left me longing to know more about her, but alas the author took me on another journey. Finding her true killer or did he?

That journey was well crafted into how small-town Texas justice really works. The larger than life character of Reverend Randall Clay who is accused of murdering Sarita fills pages with his devotions and beliefs in God, as well as his followers establishing New Jerusalem in the tiny town of Anahuac.

As Clay is indicted for the murder, the story begins to tell about the lives of the lawyers who were hired to defend Clay in the murder. The story goes into the details of their own insecurities as lawyers, friends, and spouses. I love the side story of Aurora and Cooper, who are the wives of the lawyers. You get a really good sense of how hard it was for them to be professional women even in the 1970s.

History, crime, and religion are richly interwoven in Anahuac. If you love fictional crime history with some truth added to it then you’ll love this book. My only problems with the book were with formatting and some proofreading. Overall, Darling’s story-telling voice shines in this fast-paced book giving you a sense of how small Texas town justice really worked and possibly is still evident today, along with just enough information to care about the characters.


William D. Darling is a lifelong storyteller and very nearly a native Texan, arriving in his beloved state as an infant in 1942. His first novel, Morgan’s Point, introduced readers to both the mid-‘60s rough-and-tumble world of the Houston courts where Darling came of age, and the Galveston Bay region that has long fascinated him. His latest novel Anahuac, serves as a sequel to Morgan’s Point as well as its own fascinating tale.
Darling, who has lived within the legislative bustle of Washington, D.C. and in the beauty of a Central Texas ranch, currently resides in Austin, where he and his wife have built a longstanding law practice.


January 12, 2018, 7:00PM

Anahuac Reading & Signing

Deep Vellum Books3000 Commerce StreetDallasTXUS 

January 20, 2018, 10:00AM

Anahuac Reading in Anahuac
William D. Darling brings it on home! He’ll read from Anahuac in the city where the new novel is set for the first time ever.
Chambers County Library202 Cummings StreetAnahuacTXUS 

February 17, 2018, 4:30PM
Anahuac Houston Release Event
William D. Darling will sign and read from Anahuac, celebrating the release of the book with friends and well-wishers in the city he once called home, as part of a multi-author event.
Murder by the Books2342 BissonnetHoustonTXUS 
January 5-January 14, 2018
(U.S. Only)


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Bonnie and Clyde Resurrection Road – My Review



Resurrection Road
Book One in a New Trilogy

Genre:  Alternative Historical Fiction / Thriller
Date of Publication: April 22, 2017
Pages: 308
Publisher: Pumpjack Press
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In an alternate timeline, legendary lovers Bonnie and Clyde are given one last shot at redemption.
The story begins in 1984 when a reporter gets a tip to meet an old woman at a Texas cemetery. Cradling an antique rifle and standing over a freshly dug grave, the old woman claims to be Bonnie Parker. Turns out, she says, it wasn’t Bonnie and Clyde who were ambushed fifty years earlier. Instead, the outlaws were kidnapped, forced into a covert life and given a deadly mission—save President Roosevelt from an assassination plot financed by industrialists determined to sink the New Deal.
Thrust into a fight against greed they didn’t ask for, but now must win in order to save themselves and their families, will the notorious duo overcome their criminal pasts and put their “skills” to use fighting for justice for the working class?
Cutting back and forth between the modern era where the shocked reporter investigates the potential scoop-of-the-century, and the desperate undercover exploits of Bonnie and Clyde in 1934, Resurrection Road is a page-turning sleep-wrecker.
Bonnie and Clyde. Saving democracy, one bank robbery at a time. 

“Sex, danger and intrigue, coupled with just the right dose of cheeky humor,” — East Oregonian 

“A Depression-era tale timely with reflections on fat cats and a rigged economic system that still ring true. More than that, the story is an exciting ride, with tight corners, narrow escapes, and real romantic heat between Bonnie and Clyde. Outlaws become patriots in this imaginative, suspenseful what-if story,” — Kirkus Reviews 

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Bonnie and Clyde Resurrection Road – My Review

“You always forget about the ladies,” she said. “Think we’re just shrinking violets-that we’re going to faint dead away. Honestly, it’s embarrassing.”

OMG! Yes – you read that correctly. I can say it a hundred times more on Bonnie and Clyde Resurrection Road. From the first page of a woman standing over a grave to the end page of her walking away from a grave this book was a pure, thrilling, adventure read for me. I literally at times did not want to put this book down. By the time I got to the end – I wanted the next book in hand to continue reading this reimagined, alternate history surrounding Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.

Reimagined, meaning taking history to a whole new level of what could’ve been with these outlaws that were either loved or hated into an alternate history where they don’t get killed, are given new identities and are recruited to helping save the President of the U.S.

When I was living in east Texas near the Louisiana border, I’d often drive with my dog, Buster on summer days to escape the heat because all the house had was an attic fan. One weekend, I found myself driving some Louisiana back roads up to I-20 and came across the Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow ambush site. At that time I was only slightly familiar with their story. Recent personal research lead me to read about these historical outlaws for more details, especially on their demise on that small Louisiana country road.

Authors Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall created this story surrounding an almost has been reporter looking for his next big, and possible Pulitzer winning story. When an older woman contacts him about telling her story, it’s hard for him to believe, but he’s intrigued enough and takes a leap faith to investigate her claims. As the story evolved I become tangled up in a story that took me on a ride of unimaginable twists and turns. This alternate story of what happened to Bonnie and Clyde deftly weaves together present and past timelines.

Some of the accounts from this reimagined story hold truth, like giving an idea of how many people attended Bonnie’s service. According to historical reports, it was near 20,000 who did. I love how the authors subtly incorporated Bonnie’s “Sal” into the story. Plus, if you’ve never been to an Amish market then you don’t know what you’re missing. Additionally, it’s a rare day indeed when the wind doesn’t blow in the Texas panhandle. It’s some of these historical and authentic touches that make this story seem so real.

Next book, please! Thanks, Clark and Kathleen for creating a memorable story that I don’t want to end. It takes brilliant and imaginative minds to create something so remarkable.

A native of Texas, Clark Hays spent his early childhood there and then moved for a decade with his family around the world following the job of his father, a legendary wildcat petroleum drilling engineer, before finally landing on a Montana ranch. Kathleen McFall was born and raised in Washington, D.C.

Between the two of them, the authors have worked in writing jobs ranging from cowboy-poet to energy journalist to restaurant reviewer to university press officer. After they met in the early 1990s, their writing career took center stage when they wrote the first book in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection as a test for marriage. They passed. Their debut novel was picked up by Llewellyn (St. Paul, MN) with a first edition published in 1999, making it among the earliest stories in the resurgence and reimagining of the undead myth for modern audiences.

Since then, Clark and Kathleen have published five novels together—the latest reimagines the life of the legendary outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.

Clark and Kathleen have won several writing awards, including a Pushcart Prize nomination (Clark) and a fiction fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts (Kathleen). Their books have been honored with a Best Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews, Best Books of 2016 by IndieReader, and a 2017 Silver IPPY Medalist. 

Three Winners Each Win a Signed Copy + $10 Amazon Gift Card
December 18-December 30, 2017
(U.S. Only)


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