By Paul Bedford
Hale, May 2013
It is December 1880 and snow covers the town of Devil’s Lake in northern Dakota Territory, where there have recently been two connected killings on the outlying homesteads. Angie Sutter, the attractive young widow of one of the murdered men arrives in town, seeking help from local marshal Rance Toller.
But having jailed a particularly menacing individual who appears out of place in such a quiet town Rance is reluctant to head out into the frozen wasteland, especially as there is only an ageing deputy to stand guard. On returning to Devil’s Lake, Rance and Angie find the deputy dead and the prisoner gone….
Having really enjoyed Paul Bedford’s debut Black Horse Western, Blood on the Land, I’d been looking forward to this one and I must say it more than lives up to the excellence of the previous novel.
From the opening pages this story is almost non-stop action as Rance and Angie find themselves taking on a whole band of regulators set on taking over Devil’s Lake and the surrounding area. There’s plenty of flying lead and blood as the story races to its explosive final showdown that takes place on Christmas Eve and fills more or less the last forty pages of the book.
Paul Bedford tells his story mostly from Rance Toller’s point of view, although he does occasionally switch to Angie or the lead regulator Bodeen. Rance’s favourite weapon is a shotgun and Bodeen’s a Sharps, the destruction to human flesh from these is described quite graphically, which perfectly fits in with the tough storyline.
On the strength of this, and his earlier book, Paul Bedford has firmly established himself a position in with my favourite BHW writers and I thoroughly recommend his work to those who enjoy action-packed westerns.
The Devil's Work has an official release date of May 31st but is available now from all the usual Internet bookstores.