Friday, 31 July 2009

Riders of the Barren Plains

By I.J. Parnham
A Black Horse Western from Hale, July 2009

Jeff Steed rode into Carmon looking for work, but when he got caught up in a bank raid he found himself running from both Sheriff Cassidy Yates and the bank raider Blake Kelly. To escape from the net that was inexorably closing in on him he assumed the identity of a dead man. But as that man was the leader of a supply convoy, he had to undertake a hazardous journey across the Barren Plains to the silver miners at Bleak Point.

With the convoy being escorted by the lawman who had been trying to catch him and the bandit he double-crossed hiding out in the Barren Plains, can Jeff ever hope to survive?

Having read one of I.J. Parnham’s books before, and really enjoying it, I had high hopes for this. Would I be disappointed in Riders of the Barren Plains or would it live up to my expectations?

Right from the start the author gets his hero involved in a series of circumstances that has the reader wondering how he can come out of them on the right side of the law - never mind with his life. As the story progresses at rapid speed, Steed finds himself getting into more and more dangerous situations that see him trying to conceal his identity behind a fragile web of lies. Each time I thought I knew how Steed would solve a particular problem, Ian Parnham threw in yet another plot twist that kept this reader glued to the pages, making this book almost impossible to put down.

Having Steed riding with Sheriff Yates gave the author the opportunity to create some superb, tense, battles of wits as suspicion rises in the lawman’s mind. This isn’t Yates only problem as a headstrong girl searching for her sister joins the party. As mistrusts strengthen and the shadow of the Dark Riders falls across them all, so Ian Parnham ups the pace, which includes well described fist-fights, knife fights and plenty of gun action, as secrets are slowly revealed and surprises sprung and solved.

Characterizations are beautifully developed and Ian Parham’s descriptive prose paints vivid imagery within the minds eye, so well you can share the fear and frustrations of Steed, taste the dust and feel the heat of the Barren Plains.

So, to answer my earlier question, yes this book did live up to my expectations and more, meaning Riders of the Barren Plains is my top choice of the BHW I’ve read this month, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this book to fans of the western genre.

Readers may also be interested to know that Sheriff Cassidy Yates appears in a number of Ian Parnham’s books.

Riders of the Barren Plains has an official release date of today, July 31st, but is available now from many Internet booksellers. I suggest you get your order in asap before it sells out.


I.J. Parnham said...

Thanks for your generous words, Steve, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Joanne Walpole said...

Very nice, Steve. :-) and very well deserved, I'm sure.

andrea said...

Good review Steve, I'm going to get this.



Me too - Amazon here I come.