By Derek Rutherford
Hale, February 2014
Sam Cotton was the last person anyone in the town of Hope would have suspected of wrongdoing. All that changed, however, when Sam was caught riding hell-for-leather away from the scene of a robbery and murder. The townsfolk now see his future as being measured in hours, but Sam’s father still believes in him – and only his father can save him.
Jim Cotton sets out on a desperate mission to prove his son’s innocence, and every which way he turns brings increasing trouble. Outlaw gangs, old enemies, gun-fights, beatings, exhaustion and even the landscape conspire to keep him from saving Sam’s life.
In this story of revenge, double-dealing, violence, and forbidden love, both Jim and Sam Cotton discover new depths of courage. Their whole future, and the future of Hope itself, will be changed forever.
This is Derek Rutherford’s fourth Black Horse Western and the first I’ve read, I have read a couple of short stories before which left me eager to try a full-length book.
Derek Rutherford doesn’t believe in giving his hero an easy trail to follow, he throws problem upon problem, making his reader wonder how Jim Cotton can possible achieve his goals. Not only that, when it looks like Cotton may be about to succeed a surprising death seems to dash all hope of Jim saving his son.
There’s plenty of gunplay in this very fast moving tale that’s a race against time. Jim’s attempts to find a witness who can absolve his son before the judge passes the death sentence provides tense reading. That’s assuming his son isn’t guilty as Sam doesn’t seem to want to explain his whereabouts at the time of the killing.
As truths are slowly revealed it looks like Jim will fail to save his son, even after his dramatic appearance at the trial which sees the courtroom explode in spectacular scenes of chaos. And, even though you may well guess the outcome of some of the story-threads, Derek Rutherford will take you by surprise a number of times and everything won’t turn out as you expected.
Last Stage from Hell’s Mouth is a very entertaining book that has a release date of February 28th but is already available from the usual Internet bookstores.
Last Stage from Hell's Mouth (A Black Horse Western) at Amazon.co.uk