Book Review: Bullets for a Ballot by Nik Morton


Another tale of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, told at the pace of a galloping pinto.

The story starts with a much younger Cash Laramie, making the acquaintance of Esther Traynor, when he steps in to save her life from the menaces of the harsher side of the old west. Moving quickly forward it takes up the story when Marshall Laramie goes to the aid of Esther again, now married and known as Esther Tolliver she is living in the town of Bear Pines; and preparing to run for town Mayor. There are others however, who do not wish her well in her campaign, and whose malevolent intentions are to stop her succeeding.

When you ride with Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, you ride with just men; men of honour, but men of violence. They are men of the law, but in the old west the law is hard and justice often swift. Their characters are well drawn and you have a sense of who each man is. One of my real concerns each time I pick up a new adventure in this series is that the latest author will not carry forward the spirit and feel of the series created by Edward A. Grainger, a.k.a. David Cranmer; but I have yet to have that fear realised and most certainly Nik Morton’s interpretation is as bold and strong as those who have gone before him.

It is the characters and the settings that make a Western, ultimately they are set in a time, that no person currently living has a reference point for, other than what they have read in other books or seen in movies. Therefore to bring to life something without tangible direct history is an art, and Nik Morton is a master artist in this instance. From the taste and smell of the old west to the feel of the era violence, this is another five-star adventure for Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles.

The premise is a simple one – fix the result of an election – but as to whom the interested party really is, and why they are pulling the strings that will only become clear as the story unfolds. The tale unfolds, as page by page, Cash Laramie is relentless in his pursuit of justice. We learn more about the Marshall, as this story reveals more of the man’s character, who he is and why he is driven to do the work of a lawman. The story also exposes just how the west was run, where principles are all very well, but where money also speaks, as do more baser urges.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars, I Loved It!

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