By K.S. Stanley
The Crowood Press, September 2017
Who really was involved in the brutal massacre of a small village at the start of the American Civil War and what became of them? In this bitter tale, the truth doesn’t finally emerge until 1887 when good men turned bad fight ruthlessly to ensure that their town is elected as the Holmbury County Seat.
This is the second Black Horse Western to carry the author name of K.S. Stanley and the first I’ve read by this writer.
There’s a fair amount of action as people getting close to the truth of that long ago massacre end up with a bullet through their forehead, put there by an unknown assassin whose identity is one of the mysteries that make up this plot. Mostly this is a tale of political intrigue and hidden secrets that finally become a race against time to stop vote fixing through intimidation that sees some unusual items being used to halt the bullies crossing a river.
Lots of terrific characters, many seemingly not being completely truthful about who they really are or what they are really after, meant there were lots of plotlines to hold my attention in this well-crafted tale. There was one little mistake, when it was said that some messages would be sent via the pony express which wasn’t around at the time this story takes place, but this small slip-up didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this book.
K.S. Stanley’s writing is extremely readable, the story being told in 19 chapters, each of which is broken down into many different scenes which in turn often sees a change in who is the featured character.
The Holmbury County Seat War is one of the longer Black Horse Westerns so you certainly get value for your money.