This story returns to a location that I've used several times before of the harsh lands beyond the town of Redemption where few men would ever go if it wasn't for the silver mine at Bleak Point. The mine has been mentioned many times in previous books and several characters have set off for it, but this was the first time anyone has ever got there.
On first draft the story was called Walker of the Barren Plains as it revolved around a mysterious man known as the Walker who is sometimes seen out on the plains, but who is thought by many to be a ghost. As with many of my stories when I started writing I had no idea who the Walker was, what he wanted, or why he was doing what he did, but thankfully all the clues were there and by the time I got to the end he told me who he was.
Amusingly, while I was somewhat surprised by the solution to the mystery, since sending the book to the publisher this solution has cropped up several times in news reports from all around the world, so I guess it was nice to be topical for once . . .
When Marshal Rattigan Fletcher failed to stop Jasper Minx raiding the town bank, the angry townsfolk forced him to leave Ash Valley in disgrace. Rattigan went west in pursuit of Jasper, and in the inhospitable Barren Plains he got a chance to put right his mistake.
Rattigan is hired to find out why men from the Bleak Point silver mine have been disappearing in mysterious circumstances. As Jasper now works at the mine, Rattigan doesn't have to look far for a culprit, but Jasper claims he's not responsible. With the miners siding with Jasper, Rattigan will need to rediscover his tarnished instincts as a lawman if he is ever to solve the mystery and bring his Nemesis to justice.