The Long-Lost Love Letters of Doc Holliday
by David Corbett
Black Opal Books

"I have been dealt a bad hand, Mattie, and yet refuse to leave the table, for I am enchanted by reckless chance."

Corbett warns readers from the opening page to not look for the innocent in this story. Everybody has a history and days of reckoning with violent consequences, beginning with Doc Holliday. His story frames the action when his rediscovered letters ignite a battle for possession and ultimately revenge.

Corbett seamlessly mixes the story of Doc Holliday with an arts lawyer who is battling to protect the letters Holliday and his childhood sweetheart, Mattie, wrote to each other in the 1880s. Doc Holliday’s part of the story is limited to the love letters as he reveals himself through correspondence with Mattie with an introspective, honest look at his life, deeds, and imminent death. This use of letters is an effective stylistic maneuver that soaks the story in that Old West mythology while telling a completely modern story of art forgeries, legal wrangling, and combat tactics.

Corbett’s character-driven legal thriller is full of suspense and hard-charging gunslinging action from the Old West to a modern-day shoot-out. The courtroom scenes are a master class in legal procedural fiction with quick-fired exchanges between all parties as the arts lawyer, Lisa Balamaro, seeks to have the stolen letters protected by the courts. Outside the courtroom, other characters find ways beyond the law to settle their disputes with deadly consequences, and an action-packed finale full of strategic combat complexity makes the shootouts of the Old West seem like a simpler time. But the results of violent revenge are timeless, and Corbett has served it up cold with calculated precision.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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