By Brent Larssen
The Crowood Press, May 2016
After spending forty years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Ezekiel Cartwright has just one thing on his mind: he sets out to track down the men who set him up and then tell them, before he dies, that he has forgiven them.
So begins one of the strangest stories of the old West; the tale of a man who set out on the forgiveness trail. Cartwright finds that forgiving the men proves a lot harder than he could have guessed and, before it is all over, he has been compelled to take up a gun again and deal with the sons of the men who so cruelly wronged him all those years ago.
This is the first Black Horse Western I have read that carries the author name Brent Larssen but it is not the first I have read by Simon Webb who writes behind the Larssen pseudonym and a number of others. That I have read other westerns by this writer and still read one when I can confirms the fact that I find his work entertaining and this book is perhaps the best so far.
The idea of such a badly wronged man riding to forgive those who set him up is an interesting hook by itself but the author soon has you wondering just what the sons of the men Cartwright is seeking are up to which adds another intriguing story thread to this fast moving tale.
We find out just how Cartwright ended up in prison through a series of flashbacks told through not only Cartwright but the outlaws too during which we witness double-cross and some vicious killings.
Cartwright’s trail doesn’t quite follow the path he expects and offers a couple of surprises, not least one about Cartwright himself.
All the story threads come together in one final bloody gunfight that resolves everything neatly and perhaps not how every reader would expect and that can only add strength to this excellent tale.