Sunday 3 November 2013

Comanche Moon

By Simon Webb
Hale, October 2013

The Reverend Jonas Faulkner, pastor of the First Claremont Presbyterian Church in Texas, is a man with a secret: in his younger days he was a notorious gunman, involved in a horrific massacre causing the deaths of many children. So when a party of young girls travelling to an orphanage in Claremont is seized by a Kiowa raiding party, Pastor Faulkner knows he must act.

Seeking redemption for his violent past, the elderly clergyman is still a force to be reckoned with, and he’s prepared to go toe to toe with anyone standing in his way.

Comanche Moon is the first Black Horse Western by Simon Webb and he writes in a style that took me a little while to get used to. The beginning of the book is written in such a way that the reader is being told the story by a narrator, something that took a little getting used too. Later, Webb seamlessly blends this storytelling method with the more usual third person technique – in fact I didn’t notice when it changed just suddenly realised it had – before returning to his opening style for the final few pages.

The plot moves forward at a fast pace and involves some tense situations as Faulkner, and the small group of people he reluctantly finds himself saddled with, track the missing girls to a Comanchero hideout. Action scenes are quite graphic in their description and perfectly illustrate the difference between the mild pastor and his vicious hidden character. The two sides of Faulkner cause problems for others, not least a cavalry Captain, as they struggle to decide how the man can have such different sides to his personality.

Does Faulkner find the girls and get them to safety? Does he find redemption? Of course I can’t answer that here without spoiling the story, but will say, that if you decide to pick up a copy of Comanche Moon I’m sure you’ll enjoy finding out.


Anonymous said...

This book is fantastic, want to read it again now, would make a great tv or film.

Nik Morton said...

Your review tempts me to try it, Steve. I wonder why Hale didn't point out that Larry McMurtry published a book with the same title. (I had to change my book title Blind Justice on similar grounds; changed to Blind Justice at Wedlock, which I admit sounds better!)