HERE), Richard Prosch introduced us to Deputy Sheriff Whit Branham and several other citizens, good and bad, of Holt County, Nebraska. Well, the plot thickens and the characterizations deepen in his new novella, Holt County Law.
The trouble begins when Whit's friend the sheriff is gunned down in a saloon by a young psychopath named Billy Slade. Whit tracks Slade down, and resists killing him only at the insistence of other close friends.
A year later, Whit has cause to regret that resistance, when Slade returns to Holt Country - and to his murderous ways. And Slade’s not the only bad man on the scene. With the new sheriff mysteriously absent, Whit finds himself up against a well-organized gang of horse thieves.
This time we meet a much wider cast of characters, all of them nicely drawn, but it’s wise to get to attached to them. There’s just no telling who’s going to make it out of the story alive. And as you can expect in a Richard Prosch tale, the prose is tough and laconic. Here are a couple of passages I especially liked:
“Leave it to Indians to kill each other over a woman,” said Whit.
“White men don’t kill each other for women?” said the chief.
“Heck, no, Chief. We don’t need reasons to kill each other,” said Whit.
“Not that I can’t think up a few,” said Ezrie.
“Me, too,” said Whit.
And this, after Whit and Ezrie have nailed a couple of Slade’s accomplices:
“Do you figure Slade for the ringleader?” said Ezrie.
Whit shook his head. “Not really. He doesn’t seem the type.”
“Yeah, from what I seen of him, admitted that’s precious little, he doesn’t seem much brighter than these other two ass biscuits,” Ezrie said.
There’s sure to be more great action coming from Richard Prosch and Holt County. I suggest you jump on the wagon now, so you’ll be ready for it. Right now, both Branham's Due and Holt County Law are only 99 cents. And while you're at, check out Mr. P's earlier works, Devil's Nest and Meadows Ford Blues.