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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Dead Men's Fingers, by Tyler Brentmore, Reviewed.

As a teenager, when our first TV arrived, I loved to watch Westerns. But I've never read one, until Tyler Brentmore's Dead Men's Fingers came my way. I downloaded this book to Kindle for PC, reading from the screen in a way I generally avoid. That's how involving a story it was. Against all the odds, I felt compelled to read it.

The author has a great facility with words and molds language into sentences and paragraphs that drive the story forward at a gallop. But, at the same time, the characters are graphically drawn in a way that brings them alive. The action is superbly presented and grips the reader as each challenge increases the tension. The hero and his female counterpart are fully rounded, both possessing hidden qualities, and pasts, that are only vaguely hinted at until the story demands revelation.

That the writer has researched extensively is evident by the period detail and the way that the reader is not merely talked through the landscape but actually experiences it with all its fierce and wide-open qualities. You taste the dust, feel the burning sun, drown in the swollen river, cower in the darkness of a starless sky in the centre of a continent peopled mostly by enemies, and wonder at the vast spaces to be crossed by the wagon train.

This is more than merely a traditional western tale, though the book can easily be read on that level. Multi-layered, the story examines prejudice, the mind-set of the mob, courage, honesty, evil versus good, and even love.

I would have read this at one sitting, had circumstances allowed. As it was, I had to take a break and read it in two sessions. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and can happily recommend this to anyone who enjoys stories starring real heroes and heroines.

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