Leo W. Banks

    Great Review from The Arizona Daily Star, December 10, 2023

    So, what do you get when you cross a beautiful Ph.D. student with a love for 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' with a handsome cartel country rancher with a penchant for 'Shane?'

    A killer Western thriller spiced with literary allusion, touched by magical realism and dogged by the question of 'what constitutes a man,' that's what.

    Long-time Tucson travel and history writer Leo W. Banks makes superb use of his familiarity of Patagonia and the borderland in 'The Flying Z,' his fourth novel.

    Out monitoring the trek of drug-carrying mules skirting his borderlands ranch, the Flying Z, Will Zachary comes across a woman who's run her car into a ditch. He's on horseback, and she's in danger, so he persuades her to hop on for a ride to his ranch house to call for a tow.

    Turns out, she's just finished Harvard and was driving to Stanford for grad school when she wandered off the highway and into the ditch. It also turns out that it'll take several days to get the parts for her vintage Mustang, so she will need to stay at the ranch house, which Will shares with his aging uncle, suffering from dementia but ever the rifle-ready cowboy.

    It's that readiness — along with his love for the family ranch, and a secret cartel arrangement which Will made to protect the property — that will get them all into trouble.

    Memorable characters, a clear fondness for the area, touch-and-go romance, an old-time honor-of-the-West attitude, and one on- ones with contemporary bad guys make this a lively, entertaining read. 

    — Christine Wald-Hopkins, Arizona Daily Star

    The Flying Z

    The Flying Z is ... one of the best books I've read this year.

    Novelist and blogger James Reasoner

    One part Shane, two parts Death Wish, with dashes of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, and a whisper of Walter Brennan, The Flying Z gives a healthy dose of yesterday in the middle of a scoop of today.

    Terrance McArthur, Kings River Life Magazine

    The Flying Z is part western, part crime, part thriller, and all heart and grit! In Will Zachary Leo W. Banks has created a modern-day laconic cowboy who's tougher than a five-day cattle drive, but vulnerable, sentimental, and real. Banks is a master of dialogue, revealing layers of character through just a few spoken words. The Flying Z is a can't miss, excellent book for all crime readers!

    Matt Coyle, author of the award-winning Rick Cahill crime series

    Our hero is Will Zachary ... There aren't many men like him left. His heritage means a lot to him, and he will do what he must to protect it, but he ensures it is done with honor.

    A suspenseful, romantic tale of a family set on keeping tradition and their land against all odds. ... I recommend this book. Four Stars!


    Leo Banks' new offering stretches his talents. His Arizona action-based writings are still intact with "The Flying Z" as rancher Will Zachary's battles with an insidious drug cartel menacing his land. But, this time, Banks spins a love story throughout the plot.

    Zachary happens on a young woman, Merry O'Hara, who has crumpled her car on the ranch. She is traveling to Stanford to pursue her advanced degree and ends up in a bad spot. Unaware of the looming dangers she and her designer boots initially resist Zachary. Her naivete is cancelled by his tough-minded instruction to vacate pronto.

    He explains the drug smugglers’ presence: "Like right here. Not a movie. No previews and no popcorn."

    This begins the border adventures that Leo Banks excels at, replete with his usual attention-grabbing writing style. But underneath the danger, a bonding love story percolates between the polar opposite couple.

    "The Flying Z" melds action and a relationship to form a story for everyone to enjoy; kinda like roses and cacti. A thorny, but beautiful tale of southwestern Arizona.

    — Scott Dyke, Green Valley News