Friday, September 30, 2011
Kindle-fied Review 9: GUNS OF RETRIBUTION, by Icy Sedgwick
Icy Sedgwick is late of London, now back in Newcastle (not Liverpool, as previously noted). She’s been writing critically-acclaimed steampunk for a while now, but in her latest novel from the always-fearless Pulp Press, she treads new ground. And she comes up aces.
THE GUNS OF RETRIBUTION is a strong Western full of action, honor, betrayal, and fast guns. Our hero, Gray O’Donnell, is a bounty hunter with a strong sense of justice, on the trail of a criminal named Blackjack Bud Hudson. But his quest takes him a little too close to his old home in the town of Retribution, where some unfinished business in the form of Jasper Roberts awaits. Jasper is a scumbag who’s only lately become sheriff of Retribution, and he plans on using his newfound power to make life miserable for Gray—miserable enough that it can only end in a hanging.
Sedgwick has clearly done her research—the short novel is laced through with convincing bits of regional and historical asides. But to her credit, she doesn’t get bogged down in it. The story moves swiftly through a lot of very playful dialogue and action. There’s very little exposition, and that’s as it should be.
Gray is a very likeable hero; I couldn’t help but think he’d get along well with Edward Grainger’s Cash Laramie. Over-all, THE GUNS OF RETRIBUTION feels like a single episode in a longer saga, which I hope is an indication of more Gray O’Donnell to come.