What the Dead Men Say

Edward Gorman, Author
Edward Gorman, Author M. Evans and Company $15.95 (130p) ISBN 978-0-87131-614-1
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
This slight, sorry western begins in 1901, when Septemus Ryan takes his 15-year-old nephew, James, on a combined coming-of-age and revenge trip. Septemus has tracked down the three men who killed his daughter, James's favorite cousin, during a bungled bank robbery. He has come to the town of Myles to kill the trio and to teach James, whom he considers a mama's boy, ``about manly things.'' Arriving in Myles, Septemus is recognized by the sheriff, who warns him against vigilantism. That evening James is treated to a Penthouse -meets- Boy's Life episode with a prostitute. Septemus kills one of the bank robbers, then kidnaps another whom he ties up in a lonely cabin, telling his young charge to do his duty by his dead cousin. James can't shoot the man, but Septemus, a raving lunatic by this point, can and does. James and the sheriff try to catch him before he kills again and, in a predictable climax, the youth--according to Gorman's ( Death Ground ) muddled sense of maturity--becomes a man. The only positive aspect of this lackluster effort is its brevity. (Aug.)
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