By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton
For those who think of parallel world or fourth dimension as being primarily Stephen King territory, there’s new (old) ground to explore in the West. Louis Lamour, “foremost storyteller of the American West,” weaves a tale involving an ancient Indian culture (Anasazi), disappearance of people and a forbidden plateau.
Mike Raglan has made a career out of investigating and more often than not exposing supposed supernatural phenomena. Yet occasionally …. And now the strange letter — a desperate plea for help — from a badly frightened Eric Hogart.
Mike finds himself alone in a dark, dry, floodwater draw near No-Man’s-Mesa. He remembers a story told to him years ago about an evil parallel world you could get into if you found the way, but it was indeed evil and had hidden gold and a high price to pay if you were caught there. Get in. Grab. Get out. But where is Eric?
It soon becomes clear that Eric has found the way in and is indeed being held captive there by “The Hand,” a dangerous autocratic government. He is being held in the Forbidden Area, a large, stone structure that seems invincible for a number of reasons. Eric is valuable to The Hand for his knowledge of electronics and of the outer world. He is also dangerous to them if he were free to share that knowledge with the people The Hand ruled.
Add to the mix that women both friendly and literally “poisonous” are involved. As the tale unwinds, Mike must indeed enter the parallel world because Eric has asked for his help. He finds allies, some from the parallel world, and thereby gains entry. A map dating from the story he first remembered offers enough clues to eventually move through the Forbidden Area maze and find Eric, who is not in the best of shape. But now to get out. And what about the women in the story?
Lamour manages to bring the plot together as it might have developed had the Anasazi constructed the old West.