Thursday, 17 July 2008

Fire in his Hand

 by J.C. Sheers
Coronet, 1969

The townsfolk of Marcos thought they were smart. Why have a two-handed sheriff when a one-handed man would do? Hell, all they wanted was a front, a guy who would be easy to squeeze. But in Ben Allen they soon learnt they’d picked the wrong man. He figured he had a job to do and, iron-claw or no, he was damn well gonna do it!

This is one big read, one-hundred and ninety-two pages of very small print.

Sheers’ hero is a tough man, yet one who is embarrassed by only having one hand, this causing him to be the butt of all kinds of jokes. Soon the locals learn that picking on Allen is a wrong move and will only get them hurt, hard. It soon becomes apparent to the reader that Allen just didn’t happen on the town of Marcos, that there is a more sinister reason to his arrival.

The book builds well to it’s violent finale but I felt it could have been a lot shorter, there are great long sections of dialogue that seemed to ramble on, thus breaking the flow of story.

Still, if you stick with it, there’s some pretty shocking revelations at the end and all the threads are tied up a savage showdown.

Get a copy here.

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