Sunday, 8 August 2010

The Judge #7

as by Hank Edwards
Harper, May 1992

Clete Bartlett has a dark heart that pumps nothing but bad blood. One drunken night, Clete rides roughshod through cattle town Ellsworth, Kansas, until his wild gunfire finds its mark in an innocent storekeeper.

Sheriff Drew Mitchell arrests Clete for murder, and stirs up a hornet’s nest of trouble. Turns out that Clete is the only son of cattle baron Carter Bartlett, a ruthless man who would do anything to spring his son – even kill a sheriff.

Judge Clay Torn has other ideas. He means to bring Clete to trial. But if anything did happen to Drew, Torn would ride to hell and back to bring every last one of them to justice. As it turns out, hell is only the halfway point.

Judge Clay Torn is a memorable lead character, not least for the knife he carries concealed beneath his coat; a weapon he uses with deadly proficiency. His single-minded belief in handing out justice to the letter of the law, without ever bending the rules often puts him in great danger, and in this story Torn’s beliefs are really going to be put to the test as to whether everyone truly deserves to be brought before the law or given a second chance.

The plot of this book isn’t anything the seasoned western reader won’t have come across before, but Hank Edwards tells it in an entertaining way that had me turning the pages quickly. The odds Torn finds himself up against will have you wondering how he’s going to come out on top, forty-to-one really do seem like insurmountable odds.

The Judge is a series I’ve enjoyed so far. Hank Edwards is a pseudonym with all but two books being written by the author who wrote this one, Jason Manning.

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