By David Fetter
HuBBuB Books, February 2018
He taught them to steal—they left him for dead.
The War Between North and South is over—but the wounds are still raw. Now, the expanding country unites around the connection of East and West by the railroads. Fortunes travel by train daily and desperate men will stop at nothing to take, by force, what isn’t theirs.
Three men who share a dark history clash over a fortune in U.S. Treasury money. One is a Pinkerton agent, and two are outlaws and brothers. One man is honor-bound, one is bound by blood, and the other knows no bounds.
They all have one thing in common—they all want The Last Red Cent!
This is David Fetter’s debut novel and he certainly proves he knows how to write a gripping, twisted tale that will hold the readers attention from the opening words.
Switching between a number of well-crafted characters, I started to wonder if the book was going to feature a hero, or anti-hero as everyone seemed to have dark secrets and would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. Slowly a central character does emerge as flashbacks create a violent past that explains motivations.
The action scenes are very well told, the violence being hard-hitting and brutal. As the death-toll mounts so do the twists and turns that make this book difficult to put down as you just have to know what happens next.
As the lead character strives to achieve his aims we see how his determination begins to become all consuming to the extent that nothing else matters to him. Surely this can only end in tragedy?
The story also offers some interesting and thought-provoking insights into life and death, I particularly liked the offered reason as to why old people die.
As Fetter’s story reaches its conclusion and everything seems to be turning out as perhaps expected the author surprises the reader with another twist and swiftly follows this up with a superb sting-in-the-tail that I didn’t see coming that finishes the story in style.
This is definitely a first western novel worth reading, and I was left looking forward to David Fetter’s next.
Also included in the book is the short story Rattletrap. This isn’t a western but it's certainly worth taking the time to read if you like gritty noir tales.