Monday, 15 May 2017

Blackwater by GJ Moffat

Blackwater is the story of Deputy Sheriff Early Simms, a decent man policing a tranquil small American town. It’s the kind of place where nothing much happens, a decent burgh populated by conservative minded, hardworking, decent folk. Early has demons, but at heart he’s a kindly giant, a product of this environment. 

But unbeknown to the population of Blackwater and its deputy sheriff twin dark clouds are on the horizon. Kate Foley, Early’s childhood sweetheart returns to town, bruised from a beating dished out by her husband. He’s spiralling dangerously out of control and wants either his wife back at any cost, or no other man to have her. Meanwhile, the Cain Brothers, Jimmy and Marshall, are on the warpath. Both more than capable of serious they’re on what can only be described as a criminal road trip, the viciousness of which is speedily escalating. Both clouds are hurtling towards Blackwater and the town’s deputy sheriff, Early Simms. 

When reading this accomplished novel, I was first tempted to characterise it as a slice of small-town noir, but writing this review I don’t think that’s accurate. Rather, I would consider Blackwater to be a modern Western, noir Western if you like. You have the good townsfolk of a small town, you have your outlaws riding in to rob and pillage, and finally, you have your decent lawman in the shape of Early Simms. Blackwater is an exciting read and the author does a good job setting the scene and ratcheting up the tension. I particularly liked the Cain brothers, who made believable and sinister villains. 

5 out of 5 stars

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