Cover image for Southwest of heaven
Southwest of heaven
Tippette, Giles.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Tom Doherty Associates Book, 2000.
Physical Description:
396 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Texas, 1924 -- Willis Young, son of the legendary Old West bankrobber Wilson Young, is back from France, a broken man. A World War I flying ace, he has seen enough killing and destruction to last him a lifetime. He has lost his zest for life. Willis is reunited with his former mechanic, now a prosperous wildcat oil driller, and the two set out on a crazy scheme to drill for oil on Willis's land -- 200,000 acres of the most worthless soil in the hell on earth that is West Texas. But then the well strikes water -- and Willis undergoes a transformation that changes not only his life, but the lives of everyone around him.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This is the second volume of what was intended to be the late Tippette's Texas family trilogy. (The author was working on the concluding volume when he died last October.) This tale picks up the story of Willis Young, a returned World War I pilot at odds with his father, Wilson (the hero of an earlier series of Tippette novels). Willis teams up with Dennis Frank, the mechanic who kept him in the air during the war and who is now looking for a place to drill for oil. Willis owns some of the most parched land in West Texas, and Dennis, who finds no oil, hits the motherlode of ground water--to the delight of everyone in Pecos County, including a crooked judge. In the course of all the drilling and conniving, Willis falls in love with a beautiful divorcee, eventually comes to terms with his father, and even winds up with a little black gold of his own. This is an entertaining adventure story from an accomplished author. --Budd Arthur

Publisher's Weekly Review

Second in a projected trilogy (after Heaven's Gold), this charming novel by a prolific (more than 30 novels and nonfiction books; over 500 essays) Texas writer, pilot, mercenary, diamond courier and rodeo cowboy takes on added significance since the author died this year before finishing the third book in the series. In 1924, Willis Young, a disenchanted 27-year-old ex-WWI flying ace turned unemployed wanderer, meets up with his former wartime airplane mechanic, Dennis Frank, whom he hasn't seen since the Armistice. A decade Willis's senior, Dennis is a wildcat oil prospector arriving in Galveston to get Teddy Atlas, a high-rolling gambler, to finance his next venture. Dennis soon finds out that Willis owns a vast but worthless piece of land west of Pecos, and bamboozles the deep-pocketed Atlas into bankrolling an elaborate oil-drilling project there. Meanwhile, Willis is hopelessly enamored of wealthy Houston divorcee Genevieve Maxwell, who is far too savvy to go chasing after oil in west Texas. Using an airplane to prospect in the badlands, Willis runs afoul of a crooked judge, a kindly sheriff and a beautiful blonde apparition whom he is convinced is an angel (she miraculously supplies eight exotic Swiss banded oxen of mythic prowess). When Dennis strikes pure artesian water instead of oil, Atlas shows up for a shakedown until generous Genevieve steps in to lend a hand. Part Indiana Jones, part The Sting, with touches of Stephen King and Elmore Leonard, this is a marvelously quixotic take on the pioneer days of the Texas "awl bidness." (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved