By Lee Clinton
Hale, May 2015
The reins of Satan are harnessed to the sins of violence.
Civil War veteran Gabriel McDermott has spent the last thirty years as an enforcer for anyone who could pay. But times have changed. It is now 1897 and the Old West is fading. His talents are no longer in demand and this hard man is now seen as a relic from long ago.
In a desire to escape his past and settle down, he turns in his young travelling companion for a $1500 reward. However, when his partner is hanged without a trial, the execution awakes Gabe’s lost conscience. Memories from a violent past return to haunt and his nerve fails – just when Satan decides to call.
As you will probably gather from the above blurb this book has a very dark tone, and that is what makes this story such a fascinating read.
McDermott is a lost soul, haunted by past killings, believing Satan is toying with him, tormenting him before welcoming him to Hell. As the story unfolds we discover some of Gabe’s history, witness the horrors that he’s tried to keep locked away.
Meeting Hannah and her son, Josh, could just mean life might be looking up, but McDermott’s nerve fails when they need him the most. Can Gabe redeem himself in their eyes?
This is the kind of book that at times can prove to be a hard read due to its themes, but you will not want to put it down as you’ll want to know if Gabe can rise up, perhaps even find happiness. There is plenty of brutal violence and this is used to horrific effect in a savage lesson in trying to stop someone becoming a killer themselves. There are many things in this story that will stay in my mind for a long time, it’s that powerful.
Lee Clinton is a pseudonym used by Leigh Alver and this grim and gritty tale has definitely strengthen my belief that he is one of the top Black Horse Western writers being published today.