Monday, 30 May 2011

Bloodshed at the Broken Spur

By Steven Gray
A Black Horse Western from Hale, May 2011

When Gordon Dugdale is murdered, his father, the wealthy owner of the Broken Spur ranch in Arizona, threatens to take the law into his own hands. Now it is up to Jeremiah Meade of the Governor’s office to find the real killer before there is a lynching.

Someone is out to get the Dugdale family – but who and why? And can Meade discover who is responsible before the plot for revenge succeeds and all the Dugdales are dead?

Steven Gray has written over twenty BHW with the first appearing in 1991, and then one or two books per year until 2007, so this is the first for sometime, and a first for me, even though I do have a couple of the older books in my collection.

Bloodshed at the Broken Spur is also one of the longest BHW I’ve read. It has the same number of pages as usual but the print is much smaller than normal and there are many more lines per page.

This book could easily fall into the category of a murder/mystery. It’s extremely well written with the author being an expert in keeping the reader guessing as to whom the killer is and why the Dugdales are being targeted.

The first two thirds of the book introduce the main characters and throws suspicion on many of them. The story is told from a variety of viewpoints, even having the occasional short paragraph relating the killers’ thoughts – these being carefully written so as not to reveal this persons identity. The story is dialogue driven and well paced becoming a race against time which all leads to an exciting showdown and a neat and somewhat surprising ending.

I know nothing about this author, other than having read somewhere that Steven Gray is a pseudonym for a female writer, but what I do know is that on the strength of this book I will be hunting out those other books I have very soon. 


Chap O'Keefe said...

Interestingly "Dugdale" is the real surname of a male writer behind a couple of other BHW pseudonyms. But the real name of Stephen Gray is undoubtedly female. Beyond that I'm in the dark, too, and so are other usually knowledgeable Black Horse Extra correspondents. Ruby Bamber, of publishers Robert Hale Ltd, told me early this month, "I'm not sure if there is a particular story in S----- G---'s reappearance. I can try to find out and let you know."

Nik said...

Fascinating; a mystery within a mystery. Steve, thanks for another good review that tempts me to buy the book!