The Horse Killer
by Joe Kilgore
White Bird Publications, LLC

"Nothing interrupts slumber and quickly focuses the mind quite like the cold steel of a gun barrel."

Raven Comstock is a Texas Ranger wandering the countryside as crimes that require his assistance lead him. After tracking down a Mexican thief by the name of Sanchez, he is en route to bringing him to justice when they stop by an old farmhouse that belonged to an old man Raven had met before. While camping there, Raven spots a sight that refuses to leave his mind: a white horse picked apart by carrion feeders, but which was clearly murdered by repeated blows to the head. After depositing Sanchez with the Sheriff, Raven postpones an investigation into train robberies to see if he can solve the mystery of this dead horse. His search leads to a trail of similarly inexplicable murders as well as the trails of an ill-tempered ranch owner named Hiram Daniels and a Swedish man by the name of Jorgensen—the man who owned the home where Raven found the first horse.

The confident solitude of Raven and his trusty steed, Red, combined with the perfectly-captured descriptions of the Texas countryside encapsulate that classic Western feel. Though most of Raven’s travels take place alone, there aren’t long lulls of exposition or scene building. Instead, the story moves smoothly and steadily, allowing the interrogation into the horse murders, Raven’s internal dialogue, or cross-species trust with Red to do the work of filling in the blanks and making the characters come to life. The story itself is perfectly sized as a novella, allowing the reader just enough time to meet the characters, process the action, and solve the mystery without overstaying its welcome or getting sidetracked. Vibrantly written and meticulously plotted, the story uses its style to interest readers from the very first page and keeps them hooked with a mystery and a manhunt that run the length of the book.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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