Thursday, 26 June 2014

Left-Hand Kelly

By Elisabeth Grace Foley
Second Sentence Press, June 2014

Sixteen-year-old Lew Kelly grew up idolizing his enigmatic ex-gunfighter father. Everyone thought Lew’s habit of practicing his quick draw was a harmless amusement—until the day when a boys’ hot-headed quarrel exploded into gunplay, with disastrous results. 

Three years later, Lew is withdrawn and bitter—and he still carries a gun. When an unexpected twist of circumstances forces him to face again the memories and the aftermath of that ill-fated fight, will old wrongs be righted—or will the result be an even worse tragedy than before?

After reading Elisabeth Grace Foley’s superb short story collection, The Ranch Next Door, I’ve been looking forward to her next western and here it is in the form of a novella of approximately 38,000 words.

Told in the first person through Colvin, the story hooks the reader right away with a question as to why does one young man shoot another? Colvin is soon involved trying to protect both the guilty and the innocent and how this deadly dilemma will be resolved is never obvious and the need to discover the answer made this a very difficult to put down read.

Foley’s characters are both complex and well developed. Can some put aside their beliefs due to their upbringing and accept they must change is one of the themes the author explores. Others find themselves out of their depth and seeing how they cope in these situations is never predictable.

The tale is beautifully paced, building through tense and frantic scenes to its neat conclusion and once again I’m left hoping it won’t be too long before Elisabeth Grace Foley presents us with another western.

Left-Hand Kelly has just been released as an ebook but will be available as a paperback soon.

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