Monday, 26 October 2009

Death Ground

By Ed Gorman

Leisure, November 2009

The bank’s been robbed, two men are dead, and there’s a $1,000 reward on the head of a mountain man called Kriker. Leo Guild is just as eager as anyone to collect the bounty. But he also knows—from personal experience—the law has been wrong before. He wants to hear Kriker’s side of the story before making any rash judgments. So he sets off through the icy wilderness to track his quarry. The deeper Guild goes in the mountains, the more he realizes that in this case the law and the truth are not at all on the same side. If he wants justice, he’ll have to find it for himself…whatever the price.

To my knowledge this is the second of Ed Gorman’s Leo Guild books, and the second to be reprinted by Leisure. The story is superbly written and has a very dark tone to it. Guild carries his own ghosts, there are a couple of characters hiding their own pasts, and an outbreak of cholera hangs over them all.

Ed Gorman spends quite a bit of time fleshing out his characters back stories, writing some lengthy passages about their past life and how they came to be where they are, particularly in the case of Kriker and the little girl he calls his own. Then there is the Bruckner brothers, one you’ll soon detest and the other, perhaps, feel sorry for.

Guild’s quest to discover the truth of who killed who, and why, makes for some fascinating and well thought-out reading. Once Guild has these answers he finds himself in a race against time to free a kidnapped, and very sick, little girl.

The story is filled with hard-hitting scenes as it moves towards its tragic and emotionally charged ending.

Death Ground has made me realise I’ve overlooked some great reading by never having read any of the Guild books before, so I can only hope that Leisure continue to reprint the remaining books so that those of us who missed out the first time can join the ranks of those who enjoyed them first time around.

Ed Gorman is definitely a writer who should be on all western fans must read list.

Death Ground should be in the stores any day, although it is available from Internet sellers now.


Matthew P. Mayo said...

Hi Steve,
Last year I read an older paperback copy of Death Ground and loved it. I'm a bit of a sucker for any adventure tale that takes place in winter in northern climes. Throw in a bit of a mystery and Ed Gorman's pleasurable writing and you have one heck of a good read. I recommend the book highly.


Craig Clarke said...

I read this back in 2005, before I was reading Westerns regularly, and I was surprised at how easy it was to transition from the crime novels I was reading to Gorman's style of Western.

Death Ground still stands near the top of my favorite Westerns, and it's certainly the best of the Guild novels (with Dark Trail a close second).

TWC said...

And what a great atmospheric cover too! Another one for my TBR list.

Steve M said...

Death Ground has definately made it into the 'one of the best westerns I've read this year' category.