Today I received my complimentary copies of The Search for the Lone Star, my 24th Black Horse Western. The story is a convoluted mystery involving the search for hidden treasure in which everyone who knows where it's been buried has been killed, leaving a heap of people who all know a part of the truth fighting to get their hands on it.
Although the finished tale is my usual blend of gunfights, punch-ups and hopefully a few surprises and twists along the way, the story started life as something very different. For no particularly good reason I started writing a story told entirely in diary form. It was intended to be a sort of written version of a found footage film, even though I neither like found footage films or stories written entirely in letters, emails, etc. Sometimes it does you good to go outside your comfort zone and in this case I enjoyed trying to construct a story and a character entirely through that fictional character's writing.
The story involved a barman writing in his diary every night about his customers' antics. I reached short story length without the story going anywhere until a character in the bar told a tall tale about missing treasure. This got the barman's interest, and mine, and very quickly the story expanded into a full length novel. The first draft included the original diary entries, but on reflection I had to admit the interludes didn't work well in an action western, and I couldn't think of a good reason for eking out the diary entries throughout the book to avoid giving away the ending. Bit by bit I deleted the diary extracts until in the end they got so few they no longer had a purpose. So the published book is another one of mine where not even a single word of the story I set out to write made it into the final novel!
Anyhow, the book is now available and here's the blurb:
It had long been rumoured that the fabulous diamond known as the Lone Star had been buried somewhere near the town of Diamond Springs. Many men had died trying to claim it, but when Diamond Springs became a ghost town, the men who went there had many different aims.
Tex Callahan had been paid to complete a mission, Rafferty Horn wanted to put right a past mistake, George Milligan thought he knew what had happened to the diamond, and Elias Sutherland wanted revenge. All were united by their hatred of Creswell Washington, a man who had cast a dark shadow over all their lives during his search for the diamond. Only after violent retribution will the truth be finally revealed about the Lone Star.