A Black Horse Western from Hale, October 2009
When desperate ex-Confederate officer Zac Hunter rides into Nacogdoches, he has his mind set on bank robbery. What he finds when he walks into the bank is a robbery already in progress and town marshal Dan McCrae dying from gunshot wounds.
Hunter is accused of murder by councillor Morgan Jarrow, then abruptly offered the job of town marshal. He is forced to serve notice on businessmen drilling for oil on the Skillern tract, crosses swords with lawyer Tyne Coburn and the two gunslingers Yantze and Levin, and must decide if Deputy Quint’s strange confession is the truth.
As the various factions in Nacogdoches struggle for supremacy, Hunter is drawn into a vicious cycle of treachery and murder. The showdown would come in a blazing gunfight on the Skillern tract.
Matt Laidlaw really heaps problem upon problem for his hero, Zac Hunter. Questions about motives, who is really who they say they are, and who he can trust, all grabbed my attention and made this a very difficult book to put down.
The story takes place over a three-day period, and Matt Laidlaw weaves his fictional characters, and how it could have happened, with true events. Oil was discovered on the Skillern tract on the day it is in the story: the author adding some notes at the end explaining this and which people in the book are real.
Matt Laidlaw is a pseudonym for writer John Paxton Sheriff, and this author really knows how to build on his storyline, creating a book filled with mistrusts, deceit, greed and plenty of action. The final showdown making for some very exciting reading as all sides converge on the drilling site.
Even though I have other books by John Paxton Sheriff in my collection I never got around to reading any. After reading this one I’m sure going to be rectifying this soon.
The Battle for Skillern Tract will be officially released on October 30th, but it should be available from Internet booksellers now.