By Lee Clinton
Hale, April 2013
A drunken dispute between two young cowboys ends in a violent death. What follows is a vengeful father’s spiteful desire for retribution by making a public proclamation that he will pay $10.000 to any person who will give him justice. However, a jury has acquitted the young man who shot his son of any wrongdoing.
The family attorney, who was tasked to raise the proclamation that seeks Biblical justice of an eye for an eye, is so horrified by this vindictive act that he takes it upon himself to save the father from his own despicable behaviour. He enlists the help of Walter Garfield – a man whom some would say is well past his prime. But while Walt may be getting a little old and more than a little cantankerous, he is still a man of the Old West.
As the last days of the nineteenth century come to a close, maybe, just maybe, this old ex-marshal is the only one who can save the young cowboy from those who will kill on sight just to get their hands on the vast reward that is on offer by proclamation….
Lee Clinton turns in another of the longer books published under the Black Horse Western tag, with more words per line, and more lines per page than one normally expects from a BHW. His short chapters, around two or three pages long, are all titled and start just a few lines down from the end of the previous chapter rather than on a new page. All this means is that Lee Clinton has plenty of time to develop both characters and storyline.
The opening killing takes place off screen so to speak, thus the reader doesn’t know what really happened and the following court case is enthralling because of this as the truth is sort.
There isn’t a lot of gun action during the first half or so of the book but the hunt to either kill or protect the acquitted young cowboy is gripping enough to keep the reader turning the pages to find out if he can escape death, and even if he does how can the proclamation be ended? I will add here that there is plenty of gunplay towards the end that should satisfy all of us that enjoy gunfights and the effects of which are often described graphically.
Lee Clinton (real name Leigh Alver) ties everything up neatly and I found myself once again looking forward to his next book.
The Proclaimers is officially released on April 30th but is available now from the usual Internet bookstores.