Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Short Creek Rustlers

as by J.D. Ryder
A Black Horse Western from Hale, July 2009

Someone is rustling livestock from two of the largest cattle operations in Short Creek basin and everyone is busy pointing the finger at his neighbour. Elias Fagan, a drifting cowboy with experience working with the law, has agreed to look into the situation and quickly finds himself caught smack dap in the middle. It’s swiftly made clear that catching the rustlers won’t be easy.

Nobody is supposed to know anything about Fagan but before he even reaches Short Creek someone tries to ambush him. Then in town no more than an hour, he is savagely beaten. To add to his troubles outlaw members of the old Hole-in-the-Wall gang turn up and recognise him. Maybe, he realises, there is more going on than just cattle theft.

It’s action from the start as Fagan narrowly avoids being shot only to nearly drown whilst escaping his would be assassin, and from there the author piles on the problems of staying alive for Fagan, never mind the difficulties of trying to figure out who is behind the rustling. Fagan has plenty of suspects; the ranchers, who seem to be friends – even trail drive their herds together, the successful horse ranchers, the blacksmith, the girl who dislikes him from the moment she sets eyes on him, and more.

Of course I had my thoughts on who would turn out to be the person behind the rustling although I couldn’t put my finger on why. As I read on I kept changing my mind as the author dropped in a few more clues and false leads. In fact I didn’t work it out until J.D. Ryder decided to reveal all.

This book is a little longer than most BHW, using smaller print so it comes in at the same number of pages as the majority of BHW. The story flows well and moves forward at a fast pace making for a very entertaining read. There are a few surprises too, mainly to do with the fate of a couple of the characters.

I’d not read anything by J.D. Ryder before – this is his second book, the first, Sacred Hills Massacre came out in August 2008, and a third, The Branded Man, is due to be published in December 2009 – and, on the strength of this story, I’ll certainly be looking out for them.

The Short Creek Rustlers is officially published tomorrow, July 31st, but is available now from the usual Internet booksellers.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review ... western stories have almost disappeared from the book shelves in recent years but I believe your site plays a big part in keeping the genre alive and kicking.

I am glad you enjoyed the story, I certainly enjoyed writing it. It is wonderful getting a positive comment from a reader.

Now, as a bit of self promotion: check my next one, Gone To Texas, due out in April ... and hold a place in your reading for Silent Woman Showdown by M.C.Young coming a little later in 2010.

J.D. Ryder
M.C. Young
Carlton Youngblood
George X. Holmes
and other names as I need them ...

Steve M said...

Hi Bill,

Thanks for taking the time to comment, and I'm glad you enjoyed the review.

I'll be keeping my eye out for more of your books.

Steve :)