Sunday, 12 October 2008

Morgan Kane #34

as by Louis Masterson
Corgi, 1976.
Originally published in Norway 1970.

Kane was a U.S. Marshal again. Six months after he’d thrown down his badge and quit, he was back - but only for a trial period. Old friends at Fort Leavenworth saw this was a new Kane: harsher, more ornery and brutal than before - and they gave him just one chance to prove himself...

Kane hardly knew where Nicaragua was – some damn fool country in central America, he figured – but that was where they were sending him. And when he got there, he began to feel kinda easier in his mind: in that steamy country, he could smell death in the air…

Louis Masterson (Kjell Hallbing) really gives his hero a hard time in this book, has him struggling to survive in an environment alien to him, deep in the Nicaragua jungle, where he can trust no-one.

Masterson is an expert at describing conditions, when Kane suffers in the heat then so does the reader. It’s not just the climate and landscape that Masterson writes so vividly about: it’s emotions too. When Gwen Arling witnesses Kane preparing to face the ‘demon’ of the story, she sees something in Kane very few others have: fear.

The fact that Kane feels fear and begins to crack under the strain, is something that brings me back to Masterson’s books time and again, for this is an emotion often forgotten by other authors, one that makes Kane very human, a man one can relate to more easily than the nothing scares me, he-man heroes, that can be found in other westerns.

This is a book that again underlines the strength of this series, a book that has me wanting to read more.

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