Tuesday 30 October 2012

Duel of Shadows

By Billy Hall
Hale, October 2012

Eli Lowenstein has been murdered, and Sam Murray wasn’t the man who took his life. But when the accusers threaten to look in his saddle-bags he remembers the strange noises he heard that morning, and the talk of planted evidence that had condemned Ephraim Harris to an untimely lynching.

If the evidence is in his saddle-bags, he’s sure it can only have been planted by Gar Newberry and he’s also sure that if they find anything he’ll swing from the end of a rope, just like old Ephraim. And there’s no way Sam Murray is going to sit back and let them slip that noose over his head….

Billy Hall beautifully mixes ‘whodunit’ and western and comes up with a very difficult to put down read.

The book opens with a hold-up and a cold-hearted killing that leads to a lynching. Even though the reader knows the hanged man wasn’t guilt, Billy Hall keeps the identity of the real killer a mystery, a shadow that plants evidence and whispers names.

A second killing brings feelings of guilt to those who formed the lynch party and soon local trouble-maker Gar Newberry is suspected as being the one who is framing others. Again Billy Hall presents these suspicions well, cloaked in believability. And even though the reader might have his own ideas as to whether Gar is guilty or not, and may even have an idea as to who the real killer is, I’m sure, like me, you’ll not guess the reason behind the murders.

Sam Murray finds himself out of his depth as he tries to discover who the killer is whilst staying one step ahead of the lynch mob – helped unbeknown to him by a second shadowy figure with an as yet unexplained motive. Sam also has time to fall in love and the young lady in question will also find herself in deadly danger before the killer is unmasked. 

I’ve read a number of Billy Hall’s books before (he’s written at least 30) and have always enjoyed them. This one is right up there with his very best and offers a superb mix of action and suspense, which makes for a gripping read.

Duel of Shadows is out now and I’d urge you to get your copy as soon as possible as BHW sell-out very quickly.

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