By Jay Clanton
Hale, December 2014
After a row with his fiancée, young lawyer Jerry Freeman leaves New York and travels as far as his meagre savings will carry him. He ends up in the small Texas town of Mineral Springs, where Judge Clayton Singer, owner of the local saloon, runs the strangest court ever known in the history of the United States and nobody dare go against him.
Jerry is appointed Public Defender and soon becomes accepted in the little community. However, when he makes a poor judgment about one of his clients, Jerry ends up on the wrong side of the law himself and in peril for his life.
This book is set in 1889, a fair bit later than the vast majority of Black Horse Westerns, and, as far as I can tell, is the first to carry the author name of Jay Clanton.
At least two thirds of this story deals with court cases, and these make for fascinating reading and also contain some humorous moments as modern New York law comes up against Old West law – or should that be Clayton Singer’s take on the law? The Judge sure has some eye-opening reasons for dishing out justice in a way to both benefit him and his town.
So, don’t expect a book filled with gunfights – although there is gunplay towards the end of the story – what you get is a tale of twisting legal battles and an awakening in Freeman as to how life, and people, isn’t quite as clear-cut as he believes, all resolved in an exciting clash of Old West adversaries: Indians, posses, and killers.
I found this book to be a very entertaining read that has left me looking forward to Jay Clanton’s next book which is due out in April 2015.