By Dempsey Clay
A Black Horse Western from Hale, December 2010
When four pretty brides-to-be are in need of an escort to guide them across the dusty desert where they are to wed a group of miners, everyone tells them that Jackson Blake is the only man for the job.
He has proven he can handle rustlers, bad men and border-jumpers. But can he master four pretty women, a band of deadly gunmen and a sun-blasted desert, all at once? Blake thinks so…but the Badlands figure otherwise.
This book really grabbed my interest from the opening paragraph that introduces the reader to Jackson Blake. Has him ready to ambush some unaware riders. Dempsey Clay soon explains the circumstances behind this and reveals there’s a posse somewhere in the area too.
Blake then finds himself reluctantly agreeing to escort the brides-to-be, their methods of persuading him to help making for some humorous reading. Along with a couple of friends, the small party head out into the desert. Dempsey Clay then adds more intriguing threads to the plot in the way of outlaws known as the Raiders, and a band of Apaches out for blood. Most of these characters are named and a number have their back-stories outlined. The four brides-to-be tell of their pasts too, of why they decided to answer the miners’ call for wives. Carissa’s tale leading to suspicion as to her real reasons for being a part of this group.
So plenty of plot threads that hooked my attention quickly and, along with Dempsey Clay’s easy to read writing style, ensured I’d find this book hard to put down. Once the group is out in the desert the action comes thick and fast, and at times is quite violent and graphic.
As the pages began to run out I started to wonder how all these story threads would tie-up, and that’s when I became disappointed in the book. After promising so much in the first two-thirds of the tale it then seemed like the author had forgotten some of the characters, some of those he took time to introduce where never mentioned again, and the mystery behind Carissa’s motives was never revealed, seemed forgotten. Her sudden change from a man hater to falling for Blake being a somewhat unbelievable surprise – seemingly done to provide a happy ending for Blake.
Having read a number of Paul Wheelahan’s books, written under his Dempsey Clay pseudonym, and others, I did feel a little let down by this one, not enough to not want to read anymore of his work though as I do generally enjoy his work and I’m sure I’ll definitely read another somewhere in the near future.
Renegades Rule This Land is available to buy now through the usual Internet bookstores.