Friday, 22 December 2017

Lone Oak

JAMES HARDING #2
By Phillip Hardy
BHC Press/Gelan, October 2017

James Harding rides into the small town of Lone Oak and straight into trouble. Dean Morrish and his pals have been running roughshod over the townsfolk, but that is all about to come to an end. The spoiled son of the largest rancher in the area has never run into someone quite like the average-looking, sarsaparilla-drinking man on the dusty buckskin horse.

The mild-mannered stranger will allow himself to be belittled and pushed to a point. Then he pushes back, hard! But will the town of Lone Oak learn its lesson, or will James Harding finally meet his maker?

I’ve not read the first book, Vengeance is Mine, in this series but Phillip Hardy includes enough information in this one to give plenty of details as to what happened to Harding, his family and friends to fill in Harding’s backstory thus explaining how he became the man he is in this chapter of his life. 

Harding is a man who tries to live as a good Christian but also allows his darker side to emerge in an explosion of violence when required. These two sides of his character make James Harding a fascinating person to read about, especially as you can never be sure how he’ll react in any given situation. His inner conflicts between dark and light will also cause problems with developing feelings for the woman he attempts to help.

Phillip Hardy has crafted a well-structured story that revolves around a set of terrific characters. There is plenty of action and hard-hitting scenes and the outcome for some people is surprising, certainly not as expected. Even though this story contains a lot of dark elements the tale ends, as you’d expect from a Christian western, with encouraging expectations for a brighter future. But will these hopes become reality as a third book has been announced, Fool’s Gold, for a 2018 release. I for one am looking forward to finding out.



Also available as an ebook

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