Wednesday 20 October 2010

The Legend of Shamus McGinty's Gold

By I.J. Parnham
Avalon, 2002

There’s enough gold to make you think you can live forever, but Shamus McGinty has hidden it where no one can ever find it. The only way to find the gold is to stop looking, but once you find it, you won’t even realize it. So goes the legend of Shamus McGinty’s gold.

After forty years, Morgan Armstrong thinks he’s close to solving the legend, but he’s at death’s door. He offers a share of the gold to the ruthless outlaw Quinn Rogers in return for finding a cure to save his life. Quinn looks no farther than Fergal O’Brien, purveyor of a “universal remedy” he claims will cure anything and everything. Too bad for Morgan that it hasn’t cured anyone yet, and too bad for Fergal when Quinn finds that out. His ultimatum to Fergal is simple: cure Morgan or die.

To avoid the wrong end of Quinn’s gun, Fergal and his trusty bodyguard, Randolph, must find a way to help Morgan. Their treatment just might be the key to solving the legend of Shamus McGinty’s gold.

Ian Parnham presents the reader with a superb blend of exciting western action and well-timed humour – this latter appearing both in conversation and situations. Fergal O’Brien and his bodyguard Randolph McDougal are a perfect pairing even though McDougal is looking forward to the time he can ride away from his duties as bodyguard and leave Fergal to face the outcomes of his cons himself. The other characters are equally well crafted, Armstrong, Rogers, and a whole host of others O’Brien meets on the trail.

The storyline seems simple enough at the beginning but once the main characters come together in the quest to find McGinty’s gold in soon becomes obvious there’s more going on than first assumed. Ian Parnham soon has the reader hooked with a clever tangle of mystery and hints that all characters aren’t quite who they say they are. Fergal maybe a con artist but is he the only one?

Ian Parnham writes well and provides the reader with a fast moving tale that keeps offering surprises and unexpected twists ensuring the reader will never be sure just how everything will turn out in the end. When the final page is reached I believe any reader will have been thoroughly entertained, but be warned, the climax will leave you wanting to read the next in the series: The Finest Frontier Town in the West.


Jo Walpole said...

Sounds like a good one :-)

Oscar Case said...

Shamus McGinty has to be a good, fun book to read. With a title like that you can't go wrong.

I.J. Parnham said...

Thanks, Steve.

Fergal's been with me for a while now since McGinty. I'm just about to have a go at the first draft of the final chapter of the 7th Fergal novel. And hopefully some time in the next few pages I'll figure out what this one has been about.

Nik Morton said...

You've definitely struck gold with Fergal, Ian. Since the Booker has been won by a comic novel for the first time, maybe times are achanging and people - and publishers - want more humour...?