All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: A Promise To Kill by Erik Storey

on August 31, 2017

A Promise To Kill (Clyde Barr #2)
Erik Storey
Simon & Schuster UK
2017, 269p
Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Discover a new hero…
Clyde Barr, the drifter with lethal skills, is alone again, wandering the highways of the American West in search of something to believe in. As summer turns to autumn, he heads for the mountains, planning to clear his head and regain his edge with some hunting. But when he runs across an elderly sick man—a Ute Indian from a nearby reservation—Clyde’s dream of solitude is quickly dashed.

On the reservation, Clyde finds the old man’s daughter, Lawana, and grandson, Taylor, as well as a group of menacing bikers called Reapers running wild in the struggling, half-abandoned village. Gripped by the desire to do good in a hard world, Clyde offers to stay on Lawana’s ranch to help out until her father is better. As tensions rise between the locals and the Reapers, Clyde’s efforts to protect the reservation become a fight for his, Lawana’s and Taylor’s lives…

A Promise to Kill is an edge-of-the-seat thriller, pushing its no-hold-barred hero to new levels of improvisation and bare-knuckled blunt force.

This is the second book in the series featuring drifter and former gun for hire and prisoner Clyde Barr. He’s slowly wandering his way through the American wilderness in search of solitude, perhaps needing it more than ever after recent events. It’s not to be though because Clyde first finds himself helping a Ute Native American man and then offering to stay and work on the family farm while he’s in hospital. The farm is part of a reservation which is currently in trouble – it’s been taken over by a group of bikers named the Reapers and they’re wreaking havoc and no one seems capable of doing anything about it.

Now basically here’s the first thing about Clyde Barr – he can’t refuse a person in distress and that’s not just limited to damsels. He won’t take no for an answer in helping the elderly man reach the hospital, he won’t leave the man’s young grandson alone until his mother arrives and then he won’t leave the boy and his mother to fend for themselves on the family farm. And when he sees what is happening in the town….well he can’t let that go either. He has a sort of saviour complex in a way, where he’s compelled to help those that he deems in need or at disadvantage. He seems self-aware of it but at the same time, unable to prevent himself from taking that step, making that remark, etc that generally puts him right in the line of fire.

I find Clyde entertaining because I like his outlook on life. He kind of has this weary sort of way about him and despite the fact that he’s obviously very dangerous both with his bare hands and his weapons, he doesn’t inspire fear or terror. Not Allie in the first novel and not Lawana and her son Taylor in this story either. He’s not threatening in a way that intimidates people, he’s the sort of guy that restricts his power to those that provoke it. He rarely, if ever starts a conflict and generally seeks only to do what he deems necessary in order to finish it.

Clyde has opportunities to probably settle somewhere and become part of something but it doesn’t seem to be the way he is. He craves solitude and uninhabited or very sparsely inhabited lands. He still seems to be making his way toward the Yukon but at the rate he keeps stopping and getting distracted it seems it’ll be an age before he ever gets there. The journey though, is ripe with those sorts of opportunities….Clyde could probably wreak a one man vigilante wave across greater North America, vanishing into the forests and mountains like smoke after setting things to rights.

The Reapers were some seriously messed up villains, taking over the small town on the reservation and taking advantage of the laws that made it difficult for them to be stopped. The local Sheriff had no authority to arrest them and the FBI would only get involved for serious crimes, not the petty stuff the Reapers were doing, which although problematic, wasn’t enough to warrant involvement, which they obviously knew although they weren’t the brains of what was going on and the reason they were really on the reservation. It was only supposed to be temporary but then Clyde arrived and didn’t look the other way and….things happened.

I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the first one but for different reasons. In the first book I enjoyed the personal connection between Clyde and the person he was compelled to help. However in this one I enjoyed the role of the Reapers and the way in which the whole ‘town under seige’ played out. It showcased a lot of Clyde’s intelligence and his ability to think on his feet and keep planning and adjusting the plans when required. And man can he take a beating and just keep on going.


Book #147 of 2017



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