By Mark P. Lynch
Hale, July 2012
Sheriff Gus Dudgeon finally has a witness who can identify the masked outlaw Black Wolf, who has terrorized Autumn Jericho for years. Gus must keep the witness safe until a wanted poster artist arrives and a likeness of the outlaw sketched. It should be simple. But Black Wolf has influence across town and Sheriff Dudgeon finds he can trust no one but his closest men.
While the sheriff is protecting his witness, Black Wolf sends Big Jim Deal to prevent the artist from arriving. But it seems Big Jim is also having trouble trusting his men, and there are people lurking in the shadows and willing to help Dudgeon, too.
With tensions rising, time running out, the hour of the Black Wolf is at hand.
Mark P. Lynch expertly uses the technique of switching between his cast of excellent characters chapter-by-chapter or scene-by-scene. This enables him to finish each of these sections by leaving someone in a dangerous situation or with a question, thus ensuring the reader will find it very difficult to put the book down before finding out what happens next.
The fast moving plot is full of twists and turns, which includes some of the characters identities. One of these is revealed about a quarter of the way into the story and came as a complete surprise to me, so much so I had to go back and re-read some of the beginning to see if I’d missed any clues, and praise must be heaped on Mark for setting the perfect trap which caught me out wonderfully.
Dialogue is believable and there is just enough description to set scenes well. Gunplay and knife killings are fast, furious and brutal. The book has strong parts for both male and female characters, not least the witness, whose fears provide some very visual scenes such as when remembering events that lead to seeing the Black Wolf’s face.
This is the first Black Horse Western from Mark P. Lynch and I can only hope it’s not too long before another appears. If you want to find out more about Mark he has a blog here.
Hour of the Black Wolf was officially released on July 31st and is selling out fast so if you want a copy don’t wait too long before ordering one.