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Thursday, 26 February 2009

BLAST TO OBLIVION - CHAP O'KEEFE

Black Horse Westerns
Out NOW
publication 27th Feb 2009

CHAP O'KEEFE writes:

THE first words in this book, after the title pages, are written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: "The old wheel turns, and the same spoke comes up. It’s all been done before, and will be again."




I'm not exactly a Sherlockian myself though I have read a fair number of the stories and when Chap told me of the Holmes connection to his story I was intrigued. Though to be honest I would never have noticed it were my attention not brought to the fact. So I think this book will be enjoyed by all western fans but will also appeal to Sherlock Holmes fans who don't normally read western literature.

What I did find was a finely written western with all the usual detail Chap is renowned for - the book starts off with a lone stranger entering town with murder on his mind, but first he decides to stop off at the Red Light district. His eventual victim is Ryan Bennet, an ex-Pinkerton operative.

Some time later Joshua Dillard, also an ex-Pinkerton, is asked to find out who was behind the murder by the dead man's sister, Flora. And so begins a page turning western cum detective story that will have you racing to the end.

One of O'keefe's strengths is in the way he works so many facts into the narrative without pausing the pace of the story at all and it adds colour to the story and helps with the sense of time and place.

Highly recommended but I do have one reservation - and that's with the cover image which really doesn't sum up the feel of this tightly plotted, thoughtful tale. Anyone would think it was about bucking bronco busters judging by the image used.

NOTE - MIDNIGHT SEES THE END OF THE CHAP O'KEEFE/MISFIT LIL CONTEST. THE WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOMETIME OVER THE WEEKEND.




6 comments:

Ray said...

That cover - well, to me it fits.
The fiery blast is coming towards horse and rider. The horse is going down and the rider has slipped his foot from the stirrup ready to leap off.

Chap O'Keefe said...

Well, maybe it fits, Ray, just . . . 'cept the only person anything like that happens to in the story is Joshua Dillard, who I didn't know had a beard and who wouldn't be outfitted as a cowboy.

I'd be inclined to take the line expressed in Gary's reservation. As we know, BHW covers are mostly pre-prepared "generics" and the artist seldom has the benefit of knowing anything about a particular book.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've seen a lot of covers that don't do much to match the contents inside. What's worse, though, is when the cover blurbs are completley off as well. I've seen that happen.

ARCHAVIST said...

Some covers are better than others - with the BHW range the blurbs are mostly written by the authors so I don't think there's much chance of the blurb being too far of the mark.

Ray has a point - the cover does fit the title but when you read the book it's difficult to place the story to the cover.

Nik said...

I've got BLAST TO OBLIVION in my TBR pile and am looking forward to it. BHW covers - oh, dear, they're a bit dire, some of them.Yet my first, DEATH AT BETHESDA FALLS was quite close (by accident, I suspect); THE 300Dollar MAN cover has no one-handed hero in it, which is a shame...
Nik (Ross Morton)

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