Thursday, February 22, 2024

Bounty Hunter 2: Blood Money by Aaron Fletcher

Bounty Hunter 2
Blood Money by Aaron Fletcher
1977, Leisure Books

Bounty Hunter Jake Coulter collects some bounties and beds some ladies. On the surface a generic adult western, slower paced and more repetitive than most, but I had a hard time getting a handle on this one. Slow moving, though more like Fletcher was taking his time rather than padding things out. We don't get anything resembling action until well into the book.

Most of the time it feels purposeful, the dreary tedium of frontier life punctuated by occasional violence and cruelty. The repetition reinforces this atmosphere, but certain specific story elements are repeated that it almost feels like two or three drafts strung in sequence. Grindingly realistic for the most part, then Coulter acts the white knight giving most of his money away to women in trouble.

Given what I know of Fletcher's other books, it almost feels like an historical novel set in the wild west more than a western, genre-wise. Well researched with little tidbits like - when you hang your dead bounty from a tree overnight so that critters don't chew his face off, make sure he's bent at an angle so when he freezes in place you can still mount him on a horse.

Like a lot of historical novels of the period, it gets dark. Dead bodies are kept in the icehouse until the ground thaws enough to bury them, and a grieving mother is desperate to keep her dead daughter away from the necrophiliac undertaker. An elderly man tells the story of drunks torturing his trained wolf to death. Coulter using a shovel to smash off the fingers of an elderly man he's trying to bury alive.

One of the most miserable books I've ever read. I'll cherish it always.

From Amazon

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