Sunday 31 July 2016

The Mexican

By Lee Clinton
The Crowood Press, July 2016

Frank Nester is a small time criminal who manages to pull off an almost faultless railroad robbery, except for a burnt hand when he grips a stovepipe to steady himself. This injury points to his presence in the mail car and sees him taken into custody. But luck is on his side and the jury find him not guilty, much to the annoyance of special agent Rodney D. Dodd. So when an almost exact duplication of the robbery occurs two years later for a haul of cash that is nearly forty times greater, Dodd sets his sights on Frank. However, this crime includes a killing. A Mexican jeweller by the name of Don DeLuca, who was travelling in the first class compartment, was hit by a stray shot. Dodd says it’s murder and that Frank should hang. Frank knows he had nothing to do with the heist. So who did? And what has happened to the body of Don DeLuca?

Lee Clinton has certainly come up with an excellent story that offers plenty of twists and turns as Frank begins to piece together who did the crime he has spent years in prison for. Frank will be helped by his old partner and his lady. In fact it is this lady, Sarah, who is the driving force behind Frank’s attempts to solve the mystery of the robbery, killing, and missing body.

Sarah seems to know all the questions they need to find the answers for and when Frank asks her how she knows this, her answer put a big grin on my face and knocks Frank’s confidence in her a little. I’m not going to spoil her reply here, you’ll have to read the book yourself if you want to know.

As each lead throws up more puzzles, and a major breakthrough seems to present itself, only to die in front of them before revealing the answers they were hoping for, you have to wonder if the mystery of the robbery will ever be solved.

Throughout the story Lee Clinton inserts little clues and red-herrings that’ll make you think you’ve worked out the who and why but then you’ll find yourself changing you mind again and again.

The story builds extremely well to a final bloody confrontation the ties up all the story-threads and once again left me looking forward to Lee Clinton’s next book.

Some of you may have noticed that the Black Horse Western line is no longer published by Robert Hale and are now being published by The Crowood Press. Crowood are now publishing all these books as ebooks too.


Jo Walpole said...

I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this. I think the premise is very unique.

Unknown said...

"Very" unique ... well, you can't be more unique than unique surely! But what I find even more surprising, Jo, is the low, low ebook price of these latest Black Horse Westerns. Unless downloads are selling in huge number as a result, they can't be producing a decent monetary compensation for the authors whatsoever. Amazon's Kindle business is structured to give 30% of the selling price to author and publisher for any ebook priced less than $US2.99. Personally, I see no incentive in that. It wouldn't begin to cover costs for a writer working professionally. But possibly publication is reward in itself for those who are persevering with creating new Westerns.