Friday, September 18, 2009

Death at Bethesda Falls

The title of this Ross Morton western is apt, because death does come to Bethesda Falls, and the man who brings it our protagonist, Jim Thorp. The point is hammered home at the end: As Jim leaves town, the livery man is amending the town’s population on the welcome board from 111 down to 107, and that includes the birth of two babies.

Ross Morton, as you may recall from this older post, is actually Nik Morton, a man of many names. This was (I think) Nik’s first Black Horse Western, but hardly his first novel, and shows a writer in command of his subject and his story. Nik’s style is economical and exacting. Every scene has a purpose and does its job well. I was impressed Nik's ability to move easily between several points of view, often for only brief passages, and still keep the story moving quickly forward. As we near the climax, the shifts come even quicker, building suspense on several fronts at once. Needless to say, I’ll be on the lookout for more Ross Morton westerns.

1 comment:

Nik said...

Thanks, Dave. Glad you were able to get hold of a copy!