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Posted November 17, 2013
Scarlet Shannon went berry picking on Harkey land. A mistake that will cost dearly as the Shannons and Harkeys have been feuding since time out of mind. She is caught and raped and the truce which had been in place for decades collapses. Now her younger brother Chace is out for vengeance.
Blood Feud is my first read by prolific pulp author David Robbins. At first, I was very impressed. The narrative moves right along and Robbins has a style that is smooth and professional. He makes the book feel like a western, mixing in apt turns of phrase without ever overdoing it. His characters are standard pulp type, but Chace and his twin sister Cassie have some depth to them. Chace in particular is a surprising lead. He has a startling lack of empathy and is much darker than your standard western hero and in many ways is downright unlikeable. Kudos to Mr. Robbins for that.
The problem I had with the book (and it is a big one) is that in about the middle, the book makes a severe change in gear. Chace takes out his vengeance on those that done his family wrong. From there I was expecting the situation to spiral out of all control (as that is what the synopsis implied), but that doesn't happen.
Chace hightails it to Galveston and falls in with a whole new crowd of prostitutes, gamblers and a rabble of street urchins. A story about a boy on the run getting a job at a brothel could be an interesting one, but for this book at this stage, it felt like a huge left turn. The setting, tone and cast of characters change and the book feels completely derailed. The main plot seems to have been wrapped up and it feels like the author really is not clear where it to go.
I really had trouble finishing the book. The beginning is excellent, but it falls to pieces. Situations introduced in the beginning are left unresolved. Chace has many adventures in the big city that would have made an interesting couple of books, but felt wedged into this one. The book would have benefited greatly from a tighter focus on the feud and the fallout of Chace's actions.
I am planning on reading other Robbins books. The first half of the book, while it was still batting a thousand, demands some respect for the author. But the second half of the book felt like a series of stumbles that prevent me from recommending it.
Posted December 28, 2010
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