By Scott Connor
The Crowood Press, February 2017
When Nathan Palmer and Jeff Morgan take up bare-knuckle boxing they soon regret their decision. With the results of the fight having been decided beforehand, they find themselves running from the aggrieved Sheriff Armstrong Beck and the even more aggrieved townsfolk of Lone Gulch.
They seek to make amends, but that leads to them taking part in another fight and this is one where the stakes will be as high as they can get. Unbeknown to them they have become embroiled in a secret world where rich men pay not to watch boxes fight, but to watch them fight to the death.
As this is a dark secret these powerful men will go to any lengths to protect, Nathan and Jeff will need to do more than just fight with their fists if they are ever to get out of Lone Gulch alive.
It’s been a while since I read a western that features boxing of any kind as the main storyline so this made for a great change from the more usual plot lines about gunfighters, lawmen or ranchers for instance.
I’ve read a few books by Scott Connor and have always enjoyed them and this book is right up there with the best of his work. Nathan and Jeff may be mentioned in the blurb, giving the impression they are the heroes in this fast moving tale, but they are just two of a number of people the story revolves around, some of whom aren’t all the first appear to be. Scott Connor's stories always have a number of twists and this book has a couple of great ones to take the reader by surprise.
The fight scenes are particularly well written and you can almost feel every punch as it hits home. It’s not all fists though as Scott Connor does include some gunplay too.
One of the main things I liked about this book was that there was no-way I could predict who would be alive or dead by the end and that was one of the major elements to the story that kept me turning the pages.
Once again Scott Connor has produced a well-written and very entertaining story that has left me eager to read whatever he writes next.