Well, I got good news and more good news.
DEVIL'S LEDGER marks not only the return of author Prosch's popular John Coburn (aka The Peregrine) character, but it is his first appearance in a novella-length work. Previously, The Peregrine has made acclaimed short story appearances in DEVIL'S NEST (2011) and more recently in ONE AGAINST THE GUN HORDE (April, 2014).
What's more, since the cover of LEDGER announces it as "Book 1" of an ongoing series, we have some assurance there are more to come. In fact, I happen to have it straight from the horse's mouth (and I don't mean the one Coburn rides) that the next adventure is already being written.
The events of DEVIL'S LEDGER all stem from a legendary volume called The Judas Book, a volume, accumulated over a span of time, detailing all the corrupt dealings and dirty secrets of the territory. The kind of information that men would kill for --- either to keep quiet, or to use as leverage. When Bandy Murphy, Coburn's old pal and former cell mate, shows up claiming to be in possession of the book, such men are hard on his heels and Coburn can't help but be drawn into trying to save both Bandy's hide and the Judas Book.
As usual, one of the big positives here is Prosch's distinct writing style and his use of common, everyday, "real"-seeming folks pulled into extraordinary events. In this tale, I particularly liked the early banter that takes place between Coburn, Bandy, and an old codger named Hutch Gunnar. It is funny, entertaining, and subtly character-establishing for purposes that become important later on. This is certainly not the end of colorful, interesting characters (some who turn out not to be what they first may seem) that the reader will meet, however; nor of the plot twists and turns that will ensue.
Coburn comes across as a little more mature this time around, somewhat comfortably settled into the lore that has built up around his Peregrine persona. Yet he remains ever-cautious and prepared, his anger maybe a bit slower to burn --- but, once the fuse has been ignited, as explosive and dangerous as ever.
This represents some of the best work being done in Western fiction today, and I predict readers will be looking forward to more of Prosch and the Peregrine!
Also of note:
SHOOTING THE MOON, Richard's fourth book in his YA series featuring feisty young Jo Harper and her turn-of-the-century adventures in and around Willowby, Wyoming, has also just been released and it's another corker. Like me, I expect most readers of this blog probably do not read a lot of YA fiction. I've blogged about the highly entertaining books in this series before, and once again recommend them as an exception you really ought to consider making.