Jove, October 1999
When Slocum and his partner, Billy Quince, end the life of a notorious cattle rustler, it’s the young man’s first kill. But Billy’s first kill is far from his last as the infamous rustler leaves him with a mysterious – and murderous – legacy. Now Billy’s got the taste for the limelight and begins a savage killing spree. As the death toll grows, Slocum takes on the task of breaking the deadly spell – if he can stay alive long enough…
Robert Vardeman has been writing as Jake Logan since 1984 – and I think still is today – and this must be his strangest storyline I've read so far. Dead Man’s Spurs has a strong supernatural element to the plot and this makes it one of the more unusual westerns I’ve read, and comes as a surprise, as it’s part of the Slocum series, where one wouldn’t expect such as story.
Slocum has always been a tough, hard man but even he is repulsed by the changes in Billy. Changes that horrify Billy’s sister as Billy continues on his quest to kill everyone he meets whilst searching for his intended target, that of John Wesley Hardin.
What makes this a gripping read is the need to know whether the spurs are really the cause of the changes in Billy, history seems to say so.
The book really picks up in pace as a sceptical Slocum attempts to stop Billy and destroy the myth of the spurs.
If you fancy a more unusual storyline in a western then this one is well worth tracking down.