Clevenger Gold

The True Story of Murder and Unfound Treasure

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
146 Pages
Reviewed on 09/26/2016
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Author Biography

I was born 150 years too late to fully realize my passion. I must say that I am infatuated with the 1800s, particularly the West and the allures that drew so many people to drastic measures of unforeseen survival challenges and hopes for riches to find their version of true freedom.

I grew up in Southern Utah, 20 miles from Kanab, Utah on a ranch surrounded by Anasazi ruins and flush with artifacts. My parents, sister, brother, and I were weekend archeologists in our own front yard.

Unfound Spanish bullion and cowboy era treasure interests were influenced by our parents. This became my religion, stemmed from a perfect childhood of searching out and trying my best to understand the intriguing stories of the past. My lifetime of digging in the red dirt of Utah, Arizona and the rich dirt of Nevada has now evolved from under my fingernails to translating the stories for the world to enjoy what intrigues this old soul of mine.

My debut novel, Clevenger Gold, The True Story of Murder and Unfound Treasure, is the result of 10 years of compiled research. The handed down stories, articles, and findings made this journey an exciting one. This novel is the dissection of actual, first person accounts of the events and is an exceptional example of the amazing way stories can (and usually do) change in such a short time. Stories such as this continue to bend and warp until someone places pen to paper with the backing of sound research. This was my attempt to clear the air for what did, and did not happen.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Melissa Tanaka for Readers' Favorite

I have a strong love for historical fiction, especially when the story is based on true events, and so I was incredibly excited to read Clevenger Gold by S.E. Swapp, which is based on the 1886 murder of Samuel and Charlotte Clevenger. After selling their property and exchanging their life savings into gold bullion, the Clevenger family moved north with nearly $6,000 in American gold eagles, an estimated $1 million in today’s value. Two men named John Johnson and Frank Willson are hired to drive Clevenger’s team as they move to Washington, and they quickly become the center point of the novel.

As the story progresses, it skips around from different times, locations, and perspectives, offering readers insight into the lives of various characters and providing further motivation for their actions. I was incredibly surprised to find out that the reason for Sam and Charlotte’s murder was not primarily for their money, but rather for something else, and it has inspired me to look into history books to determine what exactly within the story is fact and what is fiction!

Clevenger Gold easily captures your attention from the very beginning, with suspense, high stakes, and of course, murder. Swapp has clearly done extensive research, as the basic facts of the story are all true, including the Clevenger’s legacy of golden treasure. Clevenger Gold strikes a chord in the adventurer in us all, leaving readers to wonder about the possibility of the unclaimed treasure and perhaps inspire some to go out and search for it themselves. I really enjoyed reading this book!