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With the discovery of a woman who had been raped and murdered in the Choctaw Nation in the shadow of the Winding Stair Mountains, a posse is formed to seek out the guilty party and bring them to justice. The year is 1890, a time when murder, horse theft, and whiskey smuggling are a normal occurrence going hand in hand with bouts of drunkenness. Newly arrived to town Eben Pay who has secured a position as clerk and investigator for the prosecuting attorney William Evans is recruited by Marshall Oscar Schiller as one of the posse.
Hot on the trail of the men responsible for the murder, the posse comes up on a farm where they find the owner Thomas Thrasher brutally murdered along with his farm hands. Thrasher’s wife is missing, but the Marshall locates Thrasher’s daughter Jenny hiding in the attic in a state of shock. The girl is unable to identify any of the killers, but under questioning from Marshall Schiller, they learn that a whiskey peddler had been by the farm recently so they set off to locate the man.
In the midst of a gunfight one of the wanted men is killed, and one of his cohorts is apprehended and brought back to Fort Smith along with two other of the accused to stand trial and face the possibility of death.
“Winding Stair” is an all out western in which Douglas C. Jones creates a cast of characters and storylines that will keep the reader captivated until the conclusion. Republished posthumously to showcase his work I realized it is a shame we have lost such a talented author as this.
Reviewed by Jodi Hanson for Suspense Magazine
Posted January 20, 2012
Late 19th century historical novel of life and law in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the nearby Indian Nations. A great story throughout from the first page to the last.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.