Diamonds of Devil's Tail

Fiction - Thriller - General
220 Pages
Reviewed on 09/10/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

An avid backcountry hiker, canoer, and whitewater enthusiast, the author takes his readers on adventures in ancient lands that shape the motives and spirits of his characters.
A.W. Baldwin finished his first novel, Desert Guardian, in 2017. His second novel, Raptor Canyon, builds on a character introduced in Desert Guardian, a moonshining hermit living deep in the remote canyons of Utah. Raptor Canyon received the Grand Master Adventure Writers’ Finalist Award and was a finalist in the 2019-2020 Screencraft Cinematic Book Contest. His third novel, Wings Over Ghost Creek, was released in 2019 and also has received the Grand Master Adventure Writers’ Finalist Award. His fourth, Diamonds of Devil’s Tail, was released in October of 2020. Sandstone monuments, sheer canyons, and startling vistas provide the unique settings for these thrillers. A graduate of Wright State University and the University of Idaho School of Law, Baldwin has practiced law for more than 35 years. He began his career with a poverty law fellowship award on the Wind River Indian Reservation. He has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and other Federal, Tribal, and State Courts. He won the right of the Northern Arapaho Tribe to operate (and self-regulate) the full gamut of casino-style gaming without state control. He has successfully litigated First Amendment religious liberties, voting rights, Tribal sovereignty, and for environmental justice. He earned his private pilot’s license in 1997 and enjoys flying a Cessna 172.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Diamonds of Devil's Tail by A. W. Baldwin, when Brayden is invited on a whitewater rafting trip by his Uncle Henry, he could never have foreseen the events that would unfold in the wilderness of Devil's Tail. As they join a group of rafters on a trek into the mountains, little do they know that a trio of artifact thieves is heading their way. A reclusive hermit and moonshine maker, Relic sits in the shadows and watches as the thieves discover diamonds in a canyon stream. Meanwhile, Henry and Brayden discover the body of their colleague with diamonds in his hand. Before they can alert the other rafters, they are disturbed by the thieves and forced to flee in opposite directions to escape. When Henry is caught, he makes a dangerous deal with the thieves to share the diamonds, while using the group of rafters for his own selfish intentions. As Henry, the thieves and the rafters each try to find the source of the diamonds, Relic has found Brayden and together they hatch a cunning plan to ensure they are the first to get the treasure. Once that is accomplished, Brayden is determined to expose his uncle and all his crimes.

Diamonds of Devil's Tail by A. W. Baldwin will draw you in immediately. Beginning in 1957, we witness the heist and their exciting escape. Fast forward to the present day, we are introduced to wily Henry and his intelligent and caring nephew, Brayden. Each of the characters has depth and a unique personality. There are a lot of characters but as they are introduced gradually, the author has made following the story very easy. There are moments of humor, especially as Relic outwits the thieves but also emotional scenes. The excitement and tension are superb throughout and the areas of conflict are scattered perfectly which kept the entire plot compelling. Relic had to be my favorite character; his relationship with Brayden was heartwarming. I loved the way Relic cared for his environment and the way he encouraged Brayden to follow his dreams. The psychological game of cat and mouse between the thieves and Henry added yet another layer of interest to the story. The ending couldn't have been better. I would love to see more from Relic as he welcomes more 'guests' into Devil's Tail.

K.C. Finn

Diamonds of Devil’s Tail is a work of fiction in the thriller, suspense, and crime sub-genres, and was penned by author A. W. Baldwin. Written for adult audiences, the work does contain some scenes of moderate violence and the use of explicit language throughout. Filled with colorful characters and a fascinating and thrilling plot, we find ourselves alongside Brandon and his uncle when they discover a dead colleague from their insurance firm during a wilderness adventure. Jewel thieves arrive and Brandon flees, making an unlikely alliance with a reclusive stranger who will help him traverse the desert and discover the truth about the gems, and what’s really going on closer to home.

Author A. W. Baldwin has crafted an outdoorsy, adventure-style thriller novel that quite literally takes the rough with the smooth as its plot unfolds. I liked the overall concept and was hooked from the very opening, compelled to find out what the deal was with these jewels and the parties who will stop at nothing to get them. Brandon and Relic make for a great odd couple as the central figures, and I enjoyed their dialogue and bantering as they form their alliance against the thieves. The setting was really well developed to lend itself to the plot as well, taking the beauty and majesty of hiking and rafting and turning it quite sinister once you’re out there trying to survive. Overall, I would certainly recommend Diamonds of Devil’s Tail for fans of thriller fiction with a great mystery plot and plenty of character-led action.

Edith Wairimu

In A. W. Baldwin’s hair-raising thriller, Diamonds of Devil's Tail, a young writer travels with his uncle on a trip that proves life-changing. Brayden, a writer working as a client representative, joins his Uncle Henry on a whitewater river trip in Utah. The trip is Henry’s reward for outstanding work performance. Discouraged at the thought of dangerous rapids and with growing suspicions about his uncle, Brayden is hesitant at first to accompany Henry but decides to join him so as not to disappoint his aunt. Meanwhile, a police deputy is after a strange hermit who is said to roam the canyonlands. On arrival, Henry and Brayden join a team of rafters unaware of the adventures that await them. Between blood-thirsty thieves, the evasive hermit, and selfish rafters, Brayden must find a way to survive and face his fears.

In Diamonds of Devil's Tail, A. W. Baldwin creates an absorbing plot that features realistic characters. In the beginning, Brayden is unsure of his future and his uncle’s ambitious nature. As the story unfolds, he grows, becoming more courageous under the guidance of Relic, the hermit who guards the canyonlands. Supporting characters are also well-developed. Each character’s nature and role are revealed in the story. I loved that the story also emphasized the urgency of conserving and protecting such areas like the canyons. The riveting interactions between the rafters, the thieves, and the hermit make the story even more thrilling. Blinded by greed, the thieves are willing to destroy anything and anyone who stands in their way of finding the source of the diamonds. Diamonds of Devil's Tail is an adeptly written thriller that contains important lessons.