Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain: A Novel by Dave Matthes is an eminently unpredictable tale that melds adventure and suspense to create the kind of entertainment that readers long for in the genre. Rancid Mahoney is entrusted with the perilous task of locating Blackheart Mountain by his boss, Gunther Ostrander. But he has not been able to locate the mountain that contains the “Blackvein,” the magic drink that enables the human body to quickly heal and, perhaps, the cure for death. Yet, his boss never gives up in spite of the fact that several attempts have yielded no positive results.
But things are about to change when Mahoney sets out on his next mission to locate Blackheart Mountain, for this time, he is tasked to escort a prisoner first, and finds himself embroiled in a conflict far greater than anything he’d have imagined. The Tuskatawa Tribe are out to take back the land they believe is theirs by destiny and Crimson Collar gang wants justice — the gang wants the head of his prisoner. Mahoney becomes a man trapped by difficult dilemmas.
In Dave Matthes’ enthralling narrative, the reader is never sure where it is all going, and the excitement grows with new discoveries as the protagonist follows an uncertain path in his quest. There is more thrill to the terrific descriptions than the breath of summer air. The plot is ingeniously written, with unsettling moments sprinkled throughout the story. The crisp writing is, in itself, a delectable treat, and it is hard to not get pulled in by the author’s skillful handling of elements of the setting — both geographical and cultural. Leave My Ashes on Blackheart Mountain: A Novel features relatable and genuinely flawed characters, strong plot points, and the overall writing is deft and balanced. A gorgeous read for readers who are enticed by a strong, first person narrative voice and by writing that is filled with colorful imagery.