Monday 30 November 2020


By Lee Clinton
The Crowood Press, November 2020

It was the perfect hold-up, conducted with military precision by four men who calmly walked out of the Ozark Branch of the First National Bank with close to $50,000. Then it all went wrong. One unfortunate shot hits their leader Frank Jerome as he rides away. What to do? Take the risk and try to ride out the 250 miles back to the mighty Mississippi? Or let the other three escape without being slowed by a wounded man? Frank didn't hesitate. In a selfless act he stayed to face a prison sentence and an uncertain future. Now, years later on release, his companions have all disappeared along with the money, and it is going to take more than luck to untangle the lies, deceit and secrets that have been left behind. It is going to take animal instinct.

The book begins with the bank raid that results in Frank going to prison. Then moves forward to his release and the challenge that faces Frank in finding his partners in crime. Here we also get some backstory that reveals how the robbery came about and that there are more people involved than just the four who held-up the bank.

As it becomes apparent to Frank that his fellow bank robbers have been killed, Frank sets out to find out by who and what became of the money. He is determined to get his share no matter what. As other people become involved in Frank’s quest so the plot takes on more twists. 

This story held my attention from the opening scenes to its exciting ending. The action is at times brutal, especially when Frank has to fight for his life on a train. The final showdown is frantic, desperate and nail-biting. The final lines have a great touch of humour to them and closed the book superbly.

Lee Clinton is a pseudonym used by Australian author Leigh Alver and Animal Instinct is his 10th Black Horse Western. I’ve enjoyed every one of his books and would recommend any or all of them to western fans. 

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