Monday, July 18, 2011

Finished: "Guild" by Ed Gorman

Finished: Guild by Ed Gorman, 2009 (reprint of 1987 copyright), 9780843962307.

I bought this at the Twice is Nice store in Jefferson for $0.50. I liked it.

Years ago Guild was judged not guilty of murdering an eight year old girl. He did shoot the girl but was found not guilty of murder. Since then Guild has kept bounty hunting and carrying the guilt and grief of the girl's death.

Guild rides into the Dakota Territory town of Danton with a prisoner. He turns the prisoner over and gets a room. He runs across a very small but threatening and drunk gambler. A local man is killed while Guild is out on the town. A mob is searching for the killer. Killer is suspected of being the drunken gambler. Guild meets the sheriff, Baines, who was a platoon mate of Guild's in the Army.

The town is under control of the Cord family. Cord wants the killer found. Cord controls the sheriff. Guild is asked by the gambler's female companion to help. Guild agrees. Things happen: Gambler found hung in cell and judged a suicide. Companion vows revenge. Guild helps her out. Guild investigates. Cord plans more deadly action and uses relatives and friends for the dirty work. Guild has boner for companion. Other characters introduced. Other characters killed.

Cord plans to split town because the initial killing was done by him to hide embezzlement from the Cord family bank. Cord plans to split town; after firing the sheriff Cord hires some goons as deputies to keep people out of his hair before Cord can split town with the bank's cash.

Guild and Baines escape town and sneak back in. Cord kills companion. Guild chases after Cord. Guild shoots Cord.

1. This is the second Iowa author I have read in a row.
2. Guild and Baines are fun together. Baines is older and getting arthritic. At one point he says he is getting too old for gun play. Guild gets annoyed and reminds Baines they are the same age.
3. Guild and Baines do not play out the friends turned enemies cliche. Guild calls Baines out on Baines lack of honor and ethics by kowtowing to the Cords. Baines admits to it, he needs the job.
4. Other things seem to start on cliched routes but turn off. Older newspaperwoman and a possible romance with a witness. Baines switching sides. Cord feeling guilty, but only for a very brief time. Female companion being killed rather than riding off with Guild.

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