By I.J. Parnham
Hale, March 2015
A spree of unexplained murders shocked Monotony’s townsfolk, but when bank raider Sykes Caine was caught the killings stopped. Although Sykes pleaded his innocence, he got ten years.
When Sykes is freed from jail, he returns to Monotony where Sheriff Cassidy Yates has to deal with another perplexing case. Two men are killed in what appears to be an act of revenge, but Cassidy notices similarities with the deaths ten years ago. Before long, other people are gunned down and the evidence points to Sykes again being responsible.
With time running out before someone takes the law into their own hands and Sykes receives summary justice, Cassidy must uncover the truth and ensure only the guilty are punished.
I.J. Parnham sure has created a twisting mystery for his series character Sheriff Cassidy Yates to solve. With strange new electrical medical equipment, people who know more than they are willing to divulge, others who aren’t who they say, a mounting body count, and words written in the dirt beside the dead that make no sense, Yates seems faced with an impossible task.
At first this story seems to be a fairly straightforward whodunit, but it soon takes a much darker tone, including a couple of themes you might expect to find in a horror novel more than a western. Having said that it all works extremely well in this fast moving tale where no-one is safe, be they walking the streets or locked away in a cell; death seems to find a way of claiming them all.
Even when Parnham reveals who is behind the killings there is still a number of whys to answer and the reason for a girls’ death is shocking to say the least.
So, once again, Ian Parnham has written a thoroughly entertaining western that leaves me looking forward to his next.