Shadow on the Land

Written by Wayne D. Overholser
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1909, the Pacific Northwest had become an attractive place to settle. Several railroad lines competed for the lucrative rail business into central Oregon. Lew Dawes was a front man assigned the responsibility for buying the rights to the rail lines for one of the competing railroads. An important goal was to acquire the right of way across the Hanna Racine property. Dawes would have to compete with a cunning competitor named Mike Quinn and a mystery woman, Deborah Haig.

Wayne Overholser is a Spur winner, an award from the Western Writers of America. This is a story of greed, romance, strategy, and violence. Under today’s standards of greedy business owners, Lew Dawes could be disliked by some because of his desire to acquire land rights for his employer at the expense of the landowners. During the early 1900’s, America was growing and the railroads were necessary to carry the goods and the people quickly to their final destination.

Aside from the protagonist, there is very little character development. The book is well researched, though, and the story is fast-paced and a quick read. Western history buffs should enjoy this book.