Sunday, 13 July 2008

The Fourth Horseman

as by Jack Giles
A Black Horse Western from Hale, 1994
(the cover shown is from the Dales print)

Friday the thirteenth. A thunder storm. A tall man dressed entirely in black signs into the hotel, takes room thirteen. Willard Dull, Government agent, watches the stranger check in. His curiosity getting the better of him Dull takes a look at the register, the entry reads; Name: Death, Town: Hell, Occupation: You don’t want to know. And before midnight Death claims the lives of two men.

Excellent beginning to a story filled with intrigue. Death makes for a very memorable character as he begins to up the death toll. There’s blackmail, bribery, payroll robbers, and lawmen that may just be crooked. All these men with their own agenda’s but it looks like all their plans are about to fall apart as Death begins to reap a grim harvest.

Jack Giles, a pseudonym of Ray Foster, fills this book with a plot that twists and turns as it races to its conclusion. His writing, at times, is very visual and I could easily see this as a film. Death doesn’t say much and when he does it’s often one-liners in the form of gallows humour. There’s plenty of action, often quite cold-blooded, as lawmen and outlaws band together to take on Death, and for Willard Dull there’s the tormenting question of why does Death seem familiar to him?

If you can find a copy of this book then read it. Definitely one of the best BHW I’ve read.


Mister Roy said...

Sounds like a great spaghetti/Piccadilly type story - I'll look out for it.

Mister Roy said...

Sadly my county library doesn't have it - though thye do have 5 by Jack Giles - including one published this year with the title 'Lawmen'. It would be cool if this was a BH reinvention of the PC series, but I suspect not - the library catalogue has it down as being about

Sheriffs - Fiction.
Western stories.
Political corruption - Fiction

Steve M said...

The large print version has been appearing on ebay UK lately, if that's any help.