You know it's going to be a pretty good day when you've finished a book, you're wondering what you're going to read next, and you find a western by James Reasoner in Wal-Mart. James, as most of you know has written dozens, maybe hundreds, of westerns, but only a few under his own name like this one. It's good to see him getting a little shelf space as himself.
You know from the start of this book that you're in for something a little different. A man who's been having a few too many drinks heads back to the ranch where he works. He sees strange lights in the hills. And the next thing you know, he's dead. Someone calling himself the Hand of God has pretty much obliterated his face.
Hell Jackson, a drifter, finds himself in the town of Death Head Crossing, and he gets interested in the murder. Also in town is a young reporter, Everett Howard, from New York. He's there to send dispatches to the city folks about the Wild West. He attaches himself to Jackson because he knows Jackson will be a great source of material. Before long, the Hand of God has struck again, and Jackson and Howard become involved in the sheriff's investigation.
There's more murder to come, along with obsession, lust, bullwhips, and other entertainments. Reasoner's a master at this kind of thing. The pace never falters, and at the end of the story we're left wanting to know more about the mysterious Hell Jackson. If we're lucky, maybe Pinnacle Books will hire James to write about him some more. But for now, check this one out.