Editorial Review: The Ballad of Clay Moore by Eric S. Hoffman
Retired cowboy, Clay Moore, is living a peaceful life out in the wilds of Wyoming with his dog Baxter and his wife, Ashley. However, when a mysterious plane crashes on his desolate stretch of land, Clay finds himself in possession of state secrets and on the run from a madman with a private army who wants him dead.
The Ballad of Clay Moore opens with Clay taking his dog for a walk along the creek while having a smoke beneath the stars. It has become a nightly ritual for the retired cowboy after selling the Texas ranch he inherited and moving to the middle of nowhere, Wyoming, with his wife, Ashley. It’s a simple life, but Clay is happy and at peace living in what he calls “God’s country.” Unfortunately for Clay, his peace is disturbed by a mysterious plane crash landing on his property. With the aid of Ashley, an ex-soldier who is much more comfortable around guns than her husband, Clay investigates the crash and makes a few startling discoveries. These include some mysterious cargo and a very nervous pilot. While Clay and Ashley are still trying to make sense of the situation, their property is attacked, and they end up on the run from someone with enough money and power to get away with almost anything.
Thanks to its unlikely protagonist, a stellar cast of characters, and action-packed storyline, The Ballad of Clay Moore draws readers in right from the start. Clay is a flawed but very likable protagonist, and the flashbacks that reveal more about his youth and the events that shaped him make him even more endearing. Despite his cowboy exterior, Clay is not exactly a tough guy and finds himself way over his head right from the get-go. However, his unwavering love for his wife and the assistance he receives from a quirky cast of friends and family makes him a force to be reckoned with, and he experiences a lot of character growth during his adventure.
The Ballad of Clay Moore is an easy and fast-paced read that feels like an action movie. There’s plenty of humor but also more than enough tense situations to keep readers flipping the pages. Clay is undoubtedly the book’s star, but both his wife, Ashley, and the enigmatic Del, a Native American of Blackfoot heritage, get an opportunity to share more of their stories. These brief detours into the past never detract from the main story but help to flesh out the characters. The author has a real talent for writing compelling characters, and Clay’s circle of friends continues to grow throughout the adventure without any of them feeling excessive or out of place.
Overall, The Ballad of Clay Moore is an action-packed adventure that doesn’t skimp on character development. The story does veer in a few unexpected directions, but even when things become a little mystical, it never feels out of place or forced. In addition, the story is self-contained and leaves readers with a very satisfying conclusion.