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Book review: 'Gold Clash' provides suspense mingled with humor, romance

By Wendy Jessen

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Jan. 20 2013 5:10 a.m. MST

"GOLD CLASH," by Steve Westover, Bonneville Books, $16.99, 257 pages (f)

Suspense, action, romance and humor are all awaiting readers in Steve Westover's book "Gold Clash."

Westover, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has written a captivating tale that takes place in Missouri with LDS youths on a pioneer trek. While they are learning about the legend of "Mormon gold" and the mob, actual danger is lurking. Current-day mob members are in search of clues to lead them to the gold while the youths and leaders are caught in the crossfire.

The plot begins with a gory murder that introduces a mob family. Meanwhile, LDS youths and leaders are in the midst of their trek, learning, hiking and engaging in usual teenage banter.

After a full day of hiking and re-enacting pioneer stories/legends, the group is settled into camp. While most of the camp sleeps, one of the youths, Liz, is abducted by Scud, a mob member who is out searching for another piece of the puzzle he hopes will lead him to the gold. Meanwhile, her new friend, Clay, hides in the back of Scud's truck to try to keep Liz safe. Unbeknownst to Scud, he not only has a stowaway, but he also has one of the leaders, Jimmy, on his tail in another church leader's car.

Jimmy has two friends from church that happen to also be FBI agents — Emily Mathews and Paul Stevens. He contacts them and they join him in the chase, which turns out to be a part of the case they were already pursuing.

Following clues and evidence, the trio engages in chases on foot and in cars, shootouts, historical mysteries and puzzles. All the while, they manage to keep themselves and the civilians safe.

"Gold Clash" is a fast-paced adventure that is hard to put down. Besides being suspenseful, the book also offers some romance and light humor to break the tension. Though some of the scenes dealing with the mob include gruesome murders, the book is void of offensive language and inappropriate situations.

Wendy Jessen is a Southern Utah University graduate and a stay-at-home mother of six. Her email is wendyjessen26@gmail.com and she blogs at mormonmomofsix.blogspot.com.

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