Double Down by Zach Neal


‘The Coffee Pot Mining Company is on the way to the California gold fields when a dying man’s treasure map sidetracks them. Turns out prospecting for gold is a lot like work. With bits of colour in the pan, the mother-lode must be around there somewhere. A short story in the western tradition.’

Five friends decide to band together and try their luck at gold prospecting. Joining the Californian gold rush of 1848-1855 they head off in hopes of making their fortunes. However, as the synopsis points out, before they make it to the main centre of operations they are sidelined by the acquisition of a map. Though uncertain about the wisdom of going off at a tangent, they eventually agree to have a go; after all they paid for the map. It would be unfair to potential readers to say more though it will not hurt to mention there is a nice little twist at the end.

The story, characters and scene setting are all well written. The style enables a reader to: hear character’s speech patterns; envision their living conditions; and feel as if they are present at campfire conversations. On a broader scale; a real feel for the era is also created.

As a short story (5230 words) this would be suitable for: a lunch time read; to make a commute journey more pleasant; as a distraction from daily chores and routines; to pass the time while waiting for an appointment; etc.

Four starts (4*).

Available as an e-book.           Smashwords (In various formats to suit all devises.)

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