Friday, 29 January 2010

Devine's Law by I.J.Parnham

Devine's Law
I J Parnham
black Horse Westerns
Originally published 2004

Marshall Jake T. Devine is among the most unpleasant characters I've ever met in western fiction. Think Dirty Harry crossed with Judge Dredd and a little Patrick Bateman but what author I. J.Parnham knows is that a bastard's far more interesting than a squeaky clean hero and gives for a much better read. Well he's given us just that and his Jake Devine is almost Satan with a badge.

The book starts off with the Marshall bursting into the home of Seth Randall looking for his son Max - the boy's not at home but Seth and his three other boys are. And by the end of that chapter the Marshall's murdered the father and the three boys. He then coolly leaves, whistling as he does so, to resume his search for the errant Max.

Hearing of the slaughter Max vanishes into the hills with the Marshall in hot pursuit.

Very few westerns shock me but this one did and just when I thought I had the ending all figured out the rug was pulled out from under me again. I would highly recommend this novel - it's another all action western in the excellent Black Horse Range of which I am proud to be a part and the character of Jake Devine really is a truly original creation.

The action then shifts to follow the adventures of Max Randell which is a clever touch because we feel the suspense knowing that the monster with the badge is not too far behind him but it's when Devine takes centre stage that the book really comes alive.

Author, Ian Parnham has hinted that one day he may bring Devine back for another novel and I, for one, sure hope he does just that.

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