“Shadows on Parallel Trails”

by Brian Augustine

Set against the backdrop of wild-and-wooly California in the mid 1800s, “Shadows on Parallel Trails” chronicles the lives of Harry Morse, lawman, and Tiburcio Vasquez, bandito. In the best tradition of the historical Western novel, Brian Augustine gives us a highly readable and thoroughly interesting account of the struggles between the notorious California banditos and the lawmen who tracked them down and brought them to justice. Born in the same year, on opposite sides of the country, Harry and Tiburcio end up on opposite sides of the law through a series of events largely dictated by fate and the politics of the times.

The book lays out the parallel trails of these two men as each chapter leads us through a series of key events in their lives. Tiburcio descends into the lawless life of the bandito and at age 28 is released from San Quentin to resume his bandito lifestyle. Harry, at age 28, is elected sheriff of Alameda County and begins his war against the banditos.

Over the next 10 years, Harry leads his men in a cat-and-mouse chase against Tiburcio and his gang that ranges from San Francisco, along the coastal mountains, and into the Central Valley and Los Angeles. The author has a strong sense of place as he describes in detail the mountains, valleys, trees, and wildlife.

The book would benefit from a short section of source material and biographical notes. As a fourth generation Californian, Brian must have a wealth of material.


William Clark lives in Grass Valley and likes to submit an occasional book or music review.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User