Sunday 14 August 2016

Quarter to Midnight

By Ned Oaks
Crowood Press, July 2016

Steve Karner was attacked one night in the woods outside Stayton, Oregon. Beaten nearly to death and thrown in the river, he hadn’t been seen in years, and everyone assumed he was dead. But then the men who tried to kill him started dying, one by one, and it soon became apparent that Karner was not only alive, but riding a vengeance trail that wouldn’t end until he had found the mastermind behind the attempted murder.

There are many dangers to be faced along the way, however – a tough town marshal who wants the truth, a cunning young millionaire who will use all his family’s power to protect his secrets, and a cold-blooded hired killer who’s been paid a very tidy sum to kill Steve Karner. It all comes together in a brutal final showdown in which the truth is revealed…and only one man is left standing.

This is Ned Oaks second Black Horse Western and the first I’ve read.

Filled with well thought out characters the motives that drive them had me hooked immediately as did the desire to discover just why Karner had been attacked. Karner’s vengeance on those who beat him and threw him in the river is dealt with fairly quickly making the reader wonder where the rest of the story will go.

With Karner in jail and a killer closing in the already fast pace of the story shifts up a gear and the book becomes very difficult to put down. Tension, more deaths, swift gun action, and a great twist leading to a final confrontation brings the book to an exciting ending.

On finishing this story I found myself wishing I’d read Ned Oaks’ previous book, The Drygulch Trail, but finding a copy of that can wait as I already have his third book, Rimrock Renegade, that has been published by Crowood this month and I will certainly be reading that as soon as I can.

If you’d like to find out more about Ned Oaks you can read an interview with him here.

In case you missed it, Black Horse Westerns are now available as ebooks as well as hardbacks.


Jo Walpole said...

I can't wait to read this and the next one. Thanks for the link. :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the link to Jo's interview, Steve. It was especially pleasing to learn of a new Black Horse Western contributor with an appreciation and respect for the writers who have gone before and inspired their efforts. Ned mentioned many familiar names, from "true tradesman" writers like David Bingley -- whose work I had the pleasure of using in the 1960s as editor of Western Adventure Library, Cowboy Adventure Library and Combat Picture Library -- to Cleveland Publishing stalwart Keith Hetherington -- my "smoke signal" email correspondent across the Tasman who was always a lively and helpful friend during the years the online Black Horse Extra was run as a quarterly e-zine.

And Ned ... being a self-employed, professional writer at the same time as a husband and father is no easy challenge in these days of changing, lower-paying markets. My very best wishes for your burgeoning career as a BHW writer.

Ned Oaks said...

Thanks, Steve, for the kind review. I'm very glad you enjoyed the novel, and I hope you like "Rimrock Renegade," too.

Thanks also to Jo and Chap for the encouraging words!