By Scott Connor
A Black Horse Western from Hale, September 2011
When the plague came to Hope Wells, it took the weak and the healthy, young and old, good and bad. Within a week the town had become a living hell, but for differing reasons some men still wanted to go there.
Marshal Lincoln Hawk and Nick Mitchell went in search of outlaw Marvin Sewell. Correspondent Kyle Portman sought a story for his newspaper and Peter Campbell wanted to rescue his wife. The least welcome visitor was Ward Dixon, who saw an opportunity to profit from the developing tragedy. In a desperate time that brought out the best and the worst in humanity, these men became embroiled in a conflict where even the might of the gun won’t guarantee survival.
Scott Connor creates a wonderful air of fear throughout this book, a terror that sees even the toughest of men and women fear for their lives. How to fight a water born disease becomes a battle over the need for fresh water. As the reader gets further into the story it seems someone wants this plague to carry on and is helping it to do so, but who, and why? Obviously I’m not going to reveal the answers to those questions here, but I will say that I didn’t guess the reason.
The book doesn’t really have a central hero, the story being told through many different characters. This helps propel the story along at great pace making the book difficult to put down. There are plenty of action sequences, including an attempt to force someone to drink some of the contaminated water, which I found to be particularly suspenseful.
And do all the characters mentioned above survive? Again, that’s something I’m not going to answer, but I will say that I believe most western readers will get a lot of enjoyment from this book finding out.