Thursday 28 June 2012

The Bloodstained Crossing

By Matt Laidlaw
Hale, June 2012

Late at night, close to the silver town of Tombstone, Arizona, a wagon rattles down to the Mexican border laden with heavy crates of silver ore. Two weeks later, in the town of Rawton, a man’s death coincides with John Probity’s arrival. By the next day another person has died and Probity is in jail, accused of murder. Freed by the enigmatic town batber, Ulysses Court, Probity sets out to discover the truth.

With the number of dead rising, Probity and Court witness the gunning-down of some Mexicans at the San Pedro river and from that moment they are fighting factions from both Tombstone and Rawton. Can they make their way to safety and stay one step ahead of the furious, gun-toting outlaws?

Right from the opening paragraphs Matt Laidlaw grabs his readers attention with questions about the strange events surrounding the wagon of silver ore, and then continues to sink yet more hooks in as people die for, as yet, unknown reasons.

Matt Laidlaw brings together a group of superb characters, both fictional and real, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, the Clantons and more, who might be behind the silver movements and killings. Probity already knows Earp as they worked together as lawmen for a time.

As Probity and Court struggle to piece together the sketchy evidence they have, and read between the lines of what they’ve been told, they find themselves fighting for their lives.

All the above makes this book very difficult to put down as the plot deepens and races towards the final showdown by which time Matt Laidlaw has answered all the questions he’s fired at his readers and the big mystery behind the silver is solved – the revelation being a complete surprise to me.

So once again Matt Laidlaw – which is one of the pseudonyms used by John Paxton Sheriff – leaves me fully satisfied and entertained by his latest book and I’m left very much looking forward to his next.

The Bloodstained Crossing is officially released tomorrow but is available now from all the usual Internet bookstores. You can also read an interview I did with the author here.

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