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A former gunslinger must revisit his past to save his family.

William Hart is a farmer on the West Texas frontier in the 1870s, with a beautiful wife and son. He tries to instill in his son Billy an abhorrence for violence, but the boy is ashamed of his father, who refuses to fight and won’t even carry a gun like all the other men in town. When Hart’s old friend Sheriff Noble Caulder stops by one night, he knows it’s not just to warn the family about possible Comanche sightings in the area. A band of lawless “regulators” have overrun the town of Enterprise to ensure an outcome to the upcoming mayoral election favorable to their employer, Sam Granger. The ruthless cattle baron is determined to bring the railroad to town so he can ship his cattle cross-country and wants his yes-man Aaron Mobley to win the election. Caulder asks for Hart’s help in driving out the pistoleros, reminding him that he’d saved his life more than once during their days fighting for the Confederates in the Civil War. Hart refuses, saying that he can never repay that debt and that he’s put his guns and his violent past behind him. However, when Granger’s son murders Caulder, he feels compelled to take action, though it means his wife will find out about his past, which she may never understand nor forgive him for. In his quest to restore peace and justice, Hart makes an unlikely and invaluable friend and ally. Edmondson treads well-traveled territory in this Western thriller, but he knows it well, and he’s put together an engrossing tale, led by an engaging and sympathetic protagonist. Though his scene descriptions are ponderous at times, his gun battles are well-executed. The narrative is marred, however, by a lengthy flashback dream, a clichéd device used to relate the details of Hart’s past.

All-in-all, an enjoyable ride.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-59330-492-8
Page count: 165pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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