I’ve now published my third Black Horse Western Death or Bounty on Kindle.
I wrote this one over 12 years ago and like many of my earlier books I couldn’t remember much about it. I know I’d set out to write a very traditional story. My previous book The Last Rider from Hell had a complex explanation of why everyone did what they did and so I decided to rein in the twists and write something more straightforward. So this one has a linear plot in which some good guys go off in search of a bad guy and action and adventure ensues.
The main thing I remembered about the story was the way that plans can often go awry. When I’d set off writing westerns I’d thought my main hero would be Cassidy Yates and he would have a sidekick Nathaniel McBain. But after two tales featuring Cassidy, Nathaniel had done very little and so I had no idea what was making him tick. The answer was to take him away from Cassidy for a story to see how he reacted. The plan was that I’d learn what Nathaniel was all about and so the next time I wrote a Cassidy novel his sidekick could play a bigger part. It didn’t work out that way.
The moment I started writing, Nathaniel decided he didn’t want to be a lawman and he chose his own path. I guess that’s what I wanted him to do, but it’s annoying when characters won’t behave and decide their future for themselves, and it did send my subsequent books in a new direction.
The thing I hadn’t recalled about this one was just how twisted the morality was. Everyone on the side of outlawing and chaos double-crosses each other and everyone on the side of law and justice is corrupt. Everyone else just wants to make money. I think this might be a recurring theme of mine.
One last thing that amused me was the blurb. Following on from The Last Rider from Hell where the blurb doesn’t even mention Cassidy Yates, who is the main character, I see I did it again with this one. The blurb only mentions Nathaniel in passing and it suggests Spenser O’Connor is the hero, even though he’s about fifth in the list of important characters. I have no idea why I did that!
Anyhow, Death or Bounty is now available for download from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and all good amazon sites.
Spenser O’Connor’s luck has finally run out. After years of riding with Kirk Morton’s outlaw gang, he’s been caught and slammed in Beaver Ridge jail. The noose beckons. Then two bounty hunters, Nat McBain and Clifford Trantor, offer him a choice – die at dawn or help them track down Kirk Morton.
Not surprisingly, Spenser chooses to help them.
But this unlikely team soon discovers that Kirk is an ornery and ruthless quarry. Worse, they’re not the only ones after him and other bounty hunters will stop at nothing to capture Kirk.
When the bullets start flying from all directions, it isn’t long before Spenser wonders if the noose might have been the better choice.
With the town marshal laid up with a broken leg, Deputy Rick Cody must stand alone to protect New Town during a night of mayhem. At sunup Edison Dent will stand trial for Ogden Reed's murder and although Rick suspects that Edison is innocent, he also reckons his own sister knows more than she's prepared to reveal.
With Rick having only one night to uncover the truth, his task is made harder when the outlaw Hedley Beecher plots to free the prisoner while Ogden's brother Logan vows to kill Edison and anyone who stands in his way. Within an hour of sundown four men are dead. And so begins the longest and bloodiest night of Rick's life...