Mississippi Jack Book Review

Mississippi Jack: Being an Account of the Further Waterborne Adventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman, Fine Lady, and Lily of the West by L.A. Meyer Mississippi Jack - Louis A. Meyer

In the fifth installment of the Bloody Jack series, Jacky Faber is wanted by the crown for piracy--among other things. Along for the ride is her faithful servant Higgins, her boatswain Jim Tanner, and friend Katy Deer. Jacky and company set out from Boston heading toward the Ohio River in hopes of taking a boat down to New Orleans. But as is always the case with Jacky, nothing ever goes as planned and she soon finds herself with a host of problems from tall-tale telling captains, to slave catchers, to bandits. Little does she know that her love and betrothed, Jaimy Fletcher is on her trail with misfortunes that are as disastrous as Jacky's.

Up until now I have been singing the praises of the Bloody Jack Adventures, but I am afraid that this one just fell flat for me. Jacky was her usual charming self, of course. There was no end to the adventures and therein lies the problem. There was just too much adventure, a statement that I never thought I would say.

For my benefit and yours the various scenes/adventures are as follows:
1. Escapes from a British warship with the help of Higgins and an acting troupe.
2. Travels west to Katy Deer's home in order to confront the other girl's molesting Uncle.
3. Hires a boat whose captain is the most annoying tall-tale teller this side of the Mississippi.
4. Steals said riverboat from the captain.
5. Picks up passengers including a card man and his black servant girl, a conniving evangelist, a Native American cook, and two drunken fools fresh out of prison.
6. Pick up Clementine, a country girl who knows a secret or two about Jacky's fiancee.
7. Deck out the riverboat with guns for safety and paint in order to make her a showboat.
8. Get in a fight with bandits along the way, clearing out their den with the handful of people on board.
9. Pick up a runaway slave named Solomon.
10. Visit with some Native Americans where she runs into some Brits who are stirring up trouble.
11. Is captured and tortured by said Brits, eventually being rescued.
12. Get attacked by renegade Indians who are scalp hunting.
13. Is caught by Jaimy kissing another man. Jaimy paddles away and Jacky can't catch him.
14. Gets captured along with Solomon and Chloe (the serving girl who turns out to be the card sharks daughter).
15. Is tarred and feathered and almost hung by slave catchers.
16. Is thrown overboard during a storm and washed up near New Orleans.
17. Goes to a friend who works at a whorehouse where she raises some money and a few eyebrows.
18. Gets into a fight with three men who all want to kill her.
19. Buys a boat using money that she won by cheating at cards.
20. Travels to Jamaica to meet up with Jaimy who forgives everything in a single instant.

I think I got it all in there, but I think you get the point, simply too much going on here. There were also some things I was curious about. When Jaimy catches Jacky in the arms of another man, something to which she has admitted to doing, he flips out and refuses to return. Not only is this hypocritical of him, for he was very recently in the arms of a Miss Clementine Jukes. To that point, Jacky also gets upset, very upset, when she finds out about the Clementine and Jaimy, yet she has no problem in showing her parts or giving out kisses to handsome and sometimes not so handsome men. Although Jacky is impulsive, in this regard I felt that the story went against character.

There were also a number of plot points that felt unnecessary. Like Jacky falling into the water. Perhaps Meyer was trying to find a way of getting Jacky into the whorehouse down in New Orleans, but I think this could have easily been done since she would have needed a place to hide out and it was the perfect place for her entertaining skills, not to mention her new found card shark abilities. Throughout the book there were a number of parts that just felt so contrived. British soldiers at a Native American encampment that she just happens to be visiting at the same time? Pulling over the boat to get some firewood at the exact moment that slave catchers were nearby?

Lastly, I think it is time that Jacky and Jaimy be together. I understand that in most good love stories, the characters shouldn't get together, really together, until the end, but after five whole novels, I am just tired of them chasing each other around, always missing each other by second. Their bad fortune makes me think that perhaps they should never be together, for clearly the fates are not with them.

The book isn't without some merits, but I do wonder if there was any character development that really mattered in this book and if it wouldn't be possible to just skip book five altogether with the simple understanding that she went on an adventure down the Mississippi, picked up some more crew, and is still waiting for Jaimy. Jacky is wonderful, but Huckleberry Finn she is not.