ANDREW J. BURCH
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AUTHOR
ANDREW J. BURCH, C.P.A.
            Andrew was born in Buffalo, NY and was raised in Shelton, CT. He now lives in Phoenix, AZ and his heart still belongs to the West, his wife Sofiya's hometown. He began watching westerns in the 70's in the heyday of John Wayne and still enjoys watching The Riflemen, Big Valley, and Gunsmoke in Syndication, taking his inspiration from the classics rather than modern, grittier, and morally ambiguous tales of the Old West. Andrew is an avid sports fan who claims to be a scratch golfer - at the end of every round, he scratches out his score so no one else can read it.  

            He hopes and dreams that someone besides his wife will read his novel before he dies. He has never published before but won in a contest way back in highschool.


"I believe that if you read the first 30 pages of this novel, you will want to read more."​​

"If you don't like westerns read Cactus Jumpers anyway, you'll still like it."


​- Andrew
BOOK
CACTUS JUMPERS

Preview:

       
The town of Emerald, California is a quiet, mostly peaceful place. The struggle for power between Moss Williams, the head of the Rancher's Association, and Skip Traeger, the local business tycoon who owns half the town goes mostly unnoticed by the townsfolk until a body turns up in the water hole. Now, Marshal Mason Boydette has to get to the bottom of the biggest mystery Emerald has ever seen. But the Marshal isn't alone. Along the way, he'll try to get help from his trusty deputy, an unorthodox trio of drifters who blow into town, the local minister, and a town full of people who are forced to make a choice between justice and the easy way out. Everyone's lives are turned upside-down, and everyone must take sides before it is to late and their entire way of life disappears forever.


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Reviews

1

KIRKUS REVIEW

A marshal, a minister, and a group of drifters confront a powerful rancher and an ambitious businessman over a woman’s murder in a 19th-century California town.
In this debut novel, Burch draws on classic Western tropes to build a complex narrative about the fight between right and wrong. When a woman’s body is found in a lake near the town of Emerald, marshal Mason and minister Emmett set out to solve her murder, and their fight for justice brings them up against ruthless rancher Moss and developer Traeger, who maintain control over the town and many of its residents. When Trace, Jade, and Crystal—a white man and two African-American women, all accustomed to fighting for themselves and living on the road—arrive in Emerald, they bring their weaponry skills and complicated sense of ethics to the conflict as well. The many characters’ histories—Emmett’s career in a Wild West show, Traeger’s rebellion against his father, etc.—are gradually revealed, providing explanations for the plot’s many complexities, and everything comes together in a traditional shootout on the streets of Emerald. The writing suffers from lack of editing, however, including misused punctuation, incorrect verb tenses, and awkward prose: “It was a subtle and unconscious thing, but not unnoticeable, that Mason addressed Billy first and directed his question to the foreman as well.” While the primary and secondary characters are far more diverse than in many traditional Westerns, they are often reduced to stereotypes (as in one character’s “hot Mexican temper”), and Jade and Crystal remain “exotic” beauties until their histories and personalities are developed in the book’s second half. The book still succeeds in developing a strong sense of place that evokes Bonanza and John Wayne movies.
A traditional Western that embraces the clear division between right and wrong, the role of the hero, and the power of redemption, though the resulting narrative needs a bit more polish.

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2

TBR-TopBookReviewers

"Take a ride along an entertaining trail with Cactus Jumpers by Andrews Burch. Who doesn’t like a good western? Cactus Jumpers is a classic good versus evil novel when times were simpler...but were they? In his debut novel, Burch introduces us to Emmett, a young man who is working in a carnival. A wise Indian, Old Joe, befriends Emmett and teaches him how to be a trick shooter for the carnival. Old Joe becomes his mentor and shows him how to see the world from a different perspective. Emmett leaves the carnival and ends up on a journey into the desert where he almost dies. Strangers find him and save his life. He follows them to a growing western town called Emerald. The story continues many years later. Emmett is now the preacher in town and has hung up his gun for good, or has he?

Three strangers ride into Emerald named Trace, Crystal and Jade. They are nomads of the west looking for excitement and Emerald does not disappoint! Trouble starts brewing in Emerald when a young girl is murdered and discovered by the Marshal and Emmett’s sons at a local watering hole. The town’s founders are suspect and the Marshal is not going to back down, even if he is out numbered. Will the new strangers back the Marshal or the Founders? Is the preacher going to dust off his gun to help the Marshal?

The author, Burch, spends a good deal of time building the back story of both major and minor characters, almost to distraction of the main storyline I found. The one thing this author writes well about is the interaction between the characters emotions, feelings, hopes and fears. It is not a cut and dry story. The reader will soon learn that the author has taken his time to add thought provoking situations and morals in his plot. He also uses timing well. In the old west, things take time, even if it is just getting back to someone; hours become days and days turn into weeks. It is probably the first western that I have read that has taken this into account accurately. My recommendation would be that Cactus Jumpers would be a valuable book for adolescent readers to learn about life and the challenges it brings in an old west setting. Life was simpler but the decisions made back then are just as complex as today." 

3

Western-Inspired Novel Featured at Tucson Festival of Books


Naugatuck, Connecticut – WEBWIRE – Friday, April 8, 2016
[Cactus Jumpers by Andrew Burch]
Cactus Jumpers by Andrew Burch
 
To solve the mystery behind the unexpected murder of a woman in the peaceful town of Emerald, Marshall Mason and Minister Emmett set out to find the culprit.

Published in 2015, Cactus Jumpers, a novel written by Andrew Burch, engaged readers through Western themes and tropes at the book fair in Tucson.

To solve the mystery behind the unexpected murder of a woman in the peaceful town of Emerald, Marshall Mason and Minister Emmett set out to find the culprit. In the course of their investigation, they meet a trio of vagabonds with special fighting skills. 

Praising the novel, Kirkus Reviews said, “[The book is] a traditional Western that embraces the clear division between right and wrong, the role of the hero, and the power of redemption.”

Moreover, Top Book Reviewers recommended that “Cactus Jumpers would be a valuable book for adolescent readers to learn about life and the challenges it brings in an old west setting.”

The book had been displayed at the 8th Annual Tucson Festival of Books last March 12–13, 2016. The event was held at the University of Arizona Mall, along East University Boulevard. 

SOURCE:

4

Must-Read Mystery Fiction Features Western Culture
and Morality in the Nineteenth Century


Atlanta, Georgia – WEBWIRE – Tuesday, June 21, 2016
[Cactus Jumpers Written by Andrew J. Burch, CPA]
Cactus Jumpers Written by Andrew J. Burch, CPA
 
“The book succeeds in developing a strong sense of place that evokes Bonanza and John Wayne movies… A traditional Western that embraces the clear division between right and wrong, the role of the hero, and the power of redemption…”

Book author Andrew Burch presents a book that is heavily influenced by his deep interest in Western culture and concept of morality in the 19th century.

Cactus Jumpers is a fiction that tells the story about the mysterious murder of a woman in the peaceful town of Emerald, California.  With the help of a town minister and a group of nonconformists, Marshal Mason Boydette strived to solve the mystery. Along the way, they discovered the existent yet hideous political power struggle between the head of the Rancher’s Association and a local business tycoon who owns almost half of the town. The book is heavily inspired by classic Western trope.

Kirkus Reviews states, “The book succeeds in developing a strong sense of place that evokes Bonanza and John Wayne movies… A traditional Western that embraces the clear division between right and wrong, the role of the hero, and the power of redemption…”

Burch focused predominantly on character development. He spent enough time to foster each character’s back story while improving the physical and emotional interaction between. As the story progresses, he integrated moral lessons in the plot and setting. Moreover, Burch advises readers that even if they don’t like westerns, they won’t regret reading Cactus Jumpers. His faith statement is, “I believe that if you read the first 30 pages of this novel, you will want to read more.”

This book offers a lot of lessons about life. Thus, it is recommended to readers of varying age, especially to the teens who will gain insight to life challenges that may come along the way.

Check out Cactus Jumpers at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair which will be held on October 14-18, 2015 at the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds in Frankfurt, Germany. Several materials will also be exhibited during the whole event.

SOURCE:

5

Western-Inspired Novel Featured at Tucson Festival of Books


Naugatuck, Connecticut – WEBWIRE – Friday, April 8, 2016
[Cactus Jumpers by Andrew Burch]
Cactus Jumpers by Andrew Burch
 
To solve the mystery behind the unexpected murder of a woman in the peaceful town of Emerald, Marshall Mason and Minister Emmett set out to find the culprit.

Published in 2015, Cactus Jumpers, a novel written by Andrew Burch, engaged readers through Western themes and tropes at the book fair in Tucson.

To solve the mystery behind the unexpected murder of a woman in the peaceful town of Emerald, Marshall Mason and Minister Emmett set out to find the culprit. In the course of their investigation, they meet a trio of vagabonds with special fighting skills. 

Praising the novel, Kirkus Reviews said, “[The book is] a traditional Western that embraces the clear division between right and wrong, the role of the hero, and the power of redemption.”

Moreover, Top Book Reviewers recommended that “Cactus Jumpers would be a valuable book for adolescent readers to learn about life and the challenges it brings in an old west setting.”

The book had been displayed at the 8th Annual Tucson Festival of Books last March 12–13, 2016. The event was held at the University of Arizona Mall, along East University Boulevard. 

SOURCE:

6

The western genre has lasted so long for a good reason. While these books feature the cliché macho heroes, six shooters blazing, horseback chases, and stark landscapes, the main appeal is the triumph of good over evil. A code of morality and one man who stands against what he knows to be wrong. Cactus Jumpers by Andrew Burch continues that tradition beautifully.

Emerald, California serves as the dusty backdrop. It’s a relatively small town but populated with a variety of colorful characters. The starring cast is Skip Traeger, Moss Williams, and Emmett Brady. Brady’s life had its ups and downs from working in a carnival to nearly dying in the scorching desert, now he’s Emerald’s sole clergyman. Traeger rose to power after his father’s death to become a powerful tycoon whose reach is slowly extending out. Williams is the iconic marshal and family man with a heavy burden on his shoulders. A ghastly discovery rocks the town to its core and shifts the narrative from typical western to murder mystery that threatens to destroy the town.

Character development is the shining star in this story. Nearly every character is fully fleshed out with deep-seated motivations and desires. Few of the large cast are relegated to cliché stereotypes. When the narrative shifts into a murder mystery, the shock and resulting turmoil feels realistic. Brady serves as the perfect example of this. The murder rattles his town and puts the people under his authority in disarray. Once it becomes clear who the murderer is, Brady knows the battle is uphill and will end in violence and bloodshed. But his moral code and the gold star on his chest won’t let him let the pursuit of justice die.

One of the more refreshing aspects is the use of time. This is a realistic novel with seemingly accurate timelines. The body is discovered and weeks go by between discoveries such as contacting relatives or interviewing locals that adds credibility to the story. Nothing happens rapidly or is forced in to fit the narrative. Things unfold in their own time and in between the action parts, characters are given room to grow and develop. All of which really helps create a dynamic world with consequences that matter.

Some minor hiccups detract from the story. The overall book would benefit from editing polish to fix some grammar and formatting issues. For instance, a dialogue section randomly transitions from traditional dialogue tags to jarring script-like asides. Missing punctuation and overall awkward prose could be fixed up fairly easily giving this story a finished shine to help reach a wider audience.

Cactus Jumpers is an interesting take on the western genre featuring a world with vibrant characters and pits flawed men against a rigid morality code with a town’s fate hanging in the balance.

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Product details:

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Dorrance Publishing (January 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480912077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480912076
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
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