Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Dead Man at Snake's Creek

By Rob Hill
The Crowood Press, December 2017

Credence, Texas, is a one-horse town. Dying on its feet since the closure of the Shawnee Trail, the place is divided by bitterness, resentment and feuds that have smouldered on for years.

This is what Johnny Hartford finds when he returns home for his brother’s wedding. Ten years before, he left the town in a blaze of glory to travel to Chicago and become a Pinkerton Agent. But that was before the war. Now everything has changed: his dying father will barely speak to him, his brother is running wild and longhorn rustling is rife. Determined to make amends with his family and catch the cattle thieves, Hartford turns to old Sheriff Milton for help. But the day after he arrives, a prominent local rancher is shot in the back and Hartford discovers that almost everyone in town has a reason for wanting him dead.

The story opens with the murder of the rancher by an unknown killer and it isn’t long before the author has the reader meeting a number of people who all have reason for wanting the rancher dead, and the mention of items in that opening scene take on more significance, perhaps pointing at the identity of the killer?

Rob Hill doesn’t include a lot of gunplay in this gripping tale, it isn’t needed. There is more than enough intrigue to hold any reader’s attention as Hartford struggles to solve the mystery of who killed the rancher whilst seeking out, and stopping the cattle rustlers.

Hill’s prose is very descriptive and at times almost poetic and captivates the imagination well, painting vivid imagery in the minds-eye. His story development is well paced and contains a number of surprises. Even after all the denials from a number of characters as to being the killer, imagine the frustrations Hartford faces when a handful of those people all declare themselves the murderer.

With Dead Man at Snakes Creek, Rob Hill once again proves to me that he is an author worth reading as this story is every bit as enthralling as any of the others I’ve read by him and once more I’m left eagerly looking forward to the release of his next book.

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