Wednesday 16 December 2009

Fatal Justice

A Ralph Compton novel by David Robbins
Signet, December 2009

Years ago, Marshal Asher Thrall shot killer Ben Sharkey in the leg to save a fellow lawman. Since then, every crooked step has reminded Sharkey of the man who put a bullet in him. And he’s set to repay the favour in spades.

When the gunsmoke clears, Asher is all too eager to ride after his nemesis. But time is against him. Because while Sharkey shot him three times, the doctor removed only two slugs. The third is still in the marshal’s chest – and with every breath, every heartbeat, it is moving closer to ending his life.

Asher knows he’s a walking dead man. Before he dies, he’s going to make sure that Sharkey is one step ahead of him.

Even though this book can only have one outcome for Thrall, David Robbins writes a gripping story that sees Thrall having to make a choice; how he wants to die. Thrall chooses to hunt down and rid the world of Sharkey; chooses to use his last days of life by stopping Sharkey killing more innocent people. But to do this Thrall needs help to ease his growing chest pains, and to do this he turns to morphine.

David Robbins presents the reader with a dark tale of drug addiction and masterfully fills his story with very vivid images of a man losing his senses to the grip of morphine. Forgetting his reason for wanting to live, eager to escape everything in the bliss morphine brings, Thrall becomes a bounty hunter to get the money needed to feed his addiction.

And the need for morphine is not the only addiction David Robbins writes about; he also includes a beautifully drawn character in Broken Nose, an Indian with an alcohol addiction. Having Broken Nose team up with Thrall allows for some wonderful dialogue, some very funny, but mainly tainted with an underlying sadness.

Fatal Justice really is a superbly told story, a tale of dying with dignity that spirals out of control through drugs. A tale that makes you think about the meaning of life, a story that’s a race against time; will Thrall succeed in finding and killing Sharkey before he succumbs to his own death, and will that be caused by the bullet in his chest, wasting away through the use of morphine, or some other way?

The very nature of the storyline should tell you that this is a dark, tough, brutal book that will touch the emotions. All this told in a gritty, fast moving style that is filled with action, memorable characters, and cliff-hanger situations, that all combine to make this book very difficult to put down.

If you want to read a western with a storyline you’d not normally expect in this genre then I cannot recommend Fatal Justice highly enough.


Anonymous said...

This looks good ,on order now.

larry said...

Thank You for posting Steve,i was looking for a good Compton book to read. And i love David's writing.

Tanvir Moushum said...

reminds me of The man from nowhere by David J. West