Saturday, 26 July 2008

The Man from Boot Hill

as by Marcus Galloway
HarperTorch, August 2004

Nick Graves is looking for work and is glad to accept the job as the Undertaker’s assistant. He has a gnarled hand and hides a dark secret. Graves has chosen Jessup, Nebraska, as the town in which to ply his trade as funeral arranger, gravedigger and coffin maker. And he’s come to the right place as the law is corrupt and folks die quick...and often. Jessup hasn’t been chosen at random because Graves has some other business to attend to in this dirty little town - the kind done with a gun. But a knife-wielding killer might just put Graves into the ground first.

This is a big read, just under 400 pages in length, in which Galloway spins his tale at an almost gentle pace that accelerates from the first encounter with the knife-man. Galloway doesn’t give away too many of Graves, and the other characters, secrets all at once, just hints at them, slowly revealing them as the story progresses.

I found Galloway’s violence particularly brutal, and these clashes don’t take place over a couple of paragraphs, they last for several pages. It was also refreshing to see a writer referring to the amount of smoke the old-time weapons made.

The Man From Boot Hill is a gripping read that should satisfy any western fan, a book that leaves a few of Graves secrets not quite explained so as to encourage the reader to buy the next in this series, Burying the Past.

The first western from Marcus Galloway and hopefully many more will follow.

3 comments:

ARCHAVIST said...

Isn't that a beautiful cover. Would make a lovely print.

Steve M said...

Agreed, it's a very moody image, one of my favourites to appear on a western for a long time.

jaygee said...

In the books first chapter Galloway uses the term "this throwback" in reference to an individual that Nicolai is comforted by...I can not find a western term as such...Please reference a definition and where found.
thank you.