Thursday, 14 August 2008

Once Hell Freezes Over

 by Peter Brandvold
Berkley, October 2001

This is the fourth book in Peter Brandvold’s Sheriff Stillman series.

After bringing in a band of horse thieves, Sheriff Ben Stillman wants nothing more than to spend some quality time with his wife. Only thing is Fay isn’t home, she went visiting friends and a heavy winter storm has them sitting it out in the Hawley’s home.

But worse than the storm is the gang of vicious outlaws who need somewhere to sit out the weather and come across the Hawley cabin, once inside they take its occupants hostage and aim to kill them all before they leave. Will Stillman learn of the deadly situation his wife, and friends, have found themselves in, and if he does will he be able to get to them in time and free them from their brutal captors?

Peter Brandvold presents the reader with a number of superbly drawn characters as the story moves from one group of people to another and back again until they nearly all come together for the violent conclusion.

In fact Stillman doesn’t really have a big part to play in the unfolding tale until nearer the end. This time it’s Fay who has the leading role, and like most of the women in this book, she comes across as a strong character.

The outlaws are pure evil, squabbling over who will have the women first - or the girl child, as one of them is a rapist with a preference for the very young - and then who gets to kill them and the male captives. As time begins to run out you have to wonder how Stillman will save them - if he indeed does.

I thought Brandvold’s descriptions of the weather conditions were very well written and had me shivering along with his characters.

Probably my favourite Stillman book so far.

1 comment:

ARCHAVIST said...

Excellent review