Breaking Even

Elizabeth Fackler, Author Forge $25.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-312-85911-4
Fackler (Billy the Kid: The Legend of El Chivato) resuscitates outlaw Seth Strummar in a strong, dark new western. As the novel opens, Seth accompanies his partner, Joaqu n Ascarate, to buy his beloved Heaven Free out of a life of prostitution. In order not to separate Heaven from her sister Hekuba, Seth obliges by purchasing the sibling. Soon, however, Seth is taking advantage of the arrangement by taking his ""rights"" with his new acquisition. Returning to their home, Seth sets Hekuba up in her own house, where he visits her frequently. Although he attempts to hide the relationship from his wife, the arrangement grows notorious around town. Trouble looms when Adam Noah arrives, threatening to kill Seth for leaving him high and dry after a bank job in Texas. To save her man, Hekuba kills the would-be assassin, setting off a cycle of violence and retribution that shatters the friendship of Seth and Joaquin and sends Seth to prison. Things will only be set right when his daughter sets out to ""prove a woman's love is stronger than men's destruction."" Fackler has a keen sense for dialogue and period and a classic, clipped prose style. Seth's brutality (and the book's undercurrent of violence toward women), however, may alienate some readers from her hero and his world. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-312-87509-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 432 pages - 978-0-7653-4356-7
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