Friday, 11 November 2011

The Finest Frontier Town in the West

By I.J. Parnham
Avalon, 2003

Tender Valley is a clean, friendly and law-abiding frontier town. In fact, it is such a fine town that an enterprising businessman might just designate it as the official Finest Frontier Town in the West, an award with a thousand-dollar prize.

New Utopia isn’t as fine as Tender Valley, but the townsfolk there are desperate to win the award, and they’re prepared to go to any lengths to succeed. So they hire gunslingers to shoot up Tender Valley and destroy that town’s reputation forever.

In peaceful Tender Valley, the townsfolk are ill-equipped to withstand the gunslingers’ onslaught. They need a hero to ride into town, strap on a gun and stand tall before their tormentors.

But the next man to ride into town is Fergal O’Brien, purveyor of a singularly unsuccessful “universal remedy.” He’s no hero. But for the right price – he does have a plan.

From first wanting to win then wanting to loose as secret agendas are exposed, that might be truths or bluffs, this fast moving tale is filled with twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing to the outcome right to the very end.

Along the way the reader will meet some very memorable characters, not least Fergal O’Brien and his ‘bodyguard’ Randolph McDougal, and as the story develops could Randolph be falling in love? The woman in question being Miss Dempsey, one of the judges for the competition.

Ian Parnham is a very readable writer who mixes action and humour superbly – yes there are a lot of laughs to be found in the Fergal O’Brien series in both dialogue and some of the situations the two main characters find themselves in: O’Brien’s preference being to fast talk their way out of danger, which often results in failure and McDougal then having to step in to do what he does best.

And does O’Brien’s plot help Tender Valley win the award of the Finest Frontier Town in the West? Sorry, I can’t reveal that here, but I will urge you to search out a copy of this book for yourselves, and, as I was, I’m sure you’ll be thoroughly entertained whilst finding out the answer.

The Finest Frontier Town in the West is the second book in the Fergal O’Brien series and I’m very much looking forward to reading the third one very soon.


I.J. Parnham said...

Thanks, Steve. I'm glad you liked it!

Oscar said...

Damn it! I'm going to have to start following Fergal O'Brien!

Steve M said...

There's six at the moment Oscar, and I believe Ian is writing another.