Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Dead Man's Range

by Paul Durst
A Black Horse Western from Hale, September 2009

The murder trail was eight years old when Jeff Carmody got out of Huntsville Prison and the only clue he had was the rowel of a broken spur he had found that night beside Clint Merriweather’s body.

Booth Anson’s rambling Anvil range hemmed the tiny Merriweather ranch on all sides, but Clint’s widow, Anne, hung stubbornly on. Anson had killed to build his empire – his was a dead man’s range.

But a woman stood in his way now – would he baulk at killing a woman? That was when Carmody picked up his gun.

Dead Man’s Range was originally published in 1958 and is a much longer read than most BHW written today. The total page count is the same but the words are in much smaller print and there are more lines per page.

Paul Durst is a new author to me. A quick search on the Internet reveals he’s had quite a few books published, and if it’s the same person, wrote under at least four pseudonyms.

Dead Man’s Range is a superbly told tale that combines the search for vengeance and land grabbing. All the characters are well drawn and I was soon hooked on finding out who really killed Clint Merriweather, the obvious culprit seemingly having an airtight alibi.

Carmody is a rock-hard hero who doesn’t back down to anyone, even a group of gun carrying riders when he’s unarmed. There’s lots of tough dialogue and plenty of action, some quite brutal; such as the killing of a young girls puppy. The book ends with an exciting, and lengthy, showdown that brings about some surprising revelations. Paul Durst’s descriptions, be they of action sequences or landscape, are first rate, as is his pacing and plotting.

Overall the book didn’t come across as dated, perhaps the only hint as to its age being the absence of swearwords and how Wash, a black man, spoke; ‘Ah din’ think Ah’d ebber cross dat ole ribber again,’ for instance. Even though I had to read that line twice to make sure I’d understood it properly didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this book and I can only hope Hale publishes a few more of Paul Durst’s westerns.

Dead Man’s Range has an official release date of September 30th but is already available from Internet booksellers.

1 comment:

Sohana said...

Hello! I see that you review Western fiction novels.

I represent Randy Denmon, an author that is releasing his second book, The Savage Breed, published by Kensington Publishing on September 1st. The book is about Two Texas Rangers in the 1840's. Randy's first book, The Lawless Frontier, received recognition as a finalist in the American Spur Awards, The Ben Franklin Awards and the Independent Publisher Book Awards.

I'm sure you are inundated with review requests daily, and that it's impossible to review them all. But this is a great Texas story, that I believe you, and your readers would enjoy.

I've pasted some general information about the book below to give you a sneak peek if this might something you would like to review.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thanks in advance for your consideration!

Sohana Kutub

The Savage Breed

Travis Ross and Chase McAlister were infamous Indian hunters, scouts and Texas Rangers turned ranchers. In a war of independence, they fought against desperate odds. Travis lost a woman, the daughter of a proud Mexican rancher, and both made the kind of enemies that never go away. Now, a new war is brewing and the two friends are looking across the Rio Grande, knowing what they left behind, facing a chance to settle scores, recapture what they lost, and many more ways to die…
A decade after they fought for Texas, Travis and Chase plunge into the brutal madness of the Mexican American War. And amidst the fighting and suffering, they discover how much has changed, what has stayed the same, and that in a furious fight for survival, they’ve made the most dangerous enemy of all…a murderer fighting on their own side…