Friday, 29 January 2010

Hangtown by Logan Winters western fiction review

Of what use is a deserted ghost town? None at all unless like the old desert rat, Josh Banks and his young partner, Wage Carson, you have nowhere else to go and are tired of sleeping out with the rattlesnakes. In Hangtown, at least, they would have some shelter from the elements, some water for their weary mounts. In the spirit of things the two saddle bums vote Josh mayor of Hangtown and appoint Wage town marshal.

They weren’t alone for long. Within days the painted ladies arrived, followed by a detachment of soldiers. Things were already out of control when four rough-looking strangers arrived seeking a brief respite from the harsh desert. There was to be no respite for any of them, especially for Josh and Marshal Carson. It was not long before gunplay erupted and the silent town was prodded to violent life.

This is probably the shortest Black Horse Western to be released this month but Logan Winters (Paul Lederer) sure packs enough action and well-drawn characters into his story to make you think you’re reading a much longer tale. The pace is electrifying, not once does the story drag, in fact Hangtown is a very difficult book to put down before you’ve read the final word.

The story follows most of Hangtown’s new residents equally, perhaps Carson having centre-stage a little more than anyone else. Each character captures the imagination well, making you care about what will happen to them – even the four bank robbers. Paul Lederer includes a touch of romance between the shy Carson and a young girl travelling with the painted ladies, Liza, which seems to be heading for a happy ending. Whether it turns out that way I’m not going to say, but I will add that not many of the characters are alive at story end. MORE

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