John J. McLaglen was one of a group of western writers known as The Piccadilly Cowboys.
Jedediah Herne, who was once upon a time known as Herne The Hunter a bounty hunter and hired killer, has retired and got married to his wife, Louise, who is a lot younger than he is. Herne is in his late thirties and she was just sixteen when they got married.
The story opens pleasent enough with the daughter of their next door neighbour, Becky Yates, drawing pictures on a steamed up window while Louise cooks up a meal as she is expecting her husband home anytime. He's gone into town to get supplies.
But he's been delayed because there's been a heavy snowfall which has brought everything to a halt.
Even the train on the nearby railtrack has been forced to stop.
Aboard the train are seven men who have got drunk and have got bored with sitting around and doing nothing. Seeing the lights from the distant farmhouse they decide to go and see it they can have some 'fun'.
What passes as fun is the continual rape of Louise Herne - Becky manages to get away and hide.
Jedediah Herne comes home to find his wife traumatised, Becky missing and her mother dead.
Slowly, Jedediah draws the story out of his wife and he comforts her the best he can. But it is to much for Louise and in the morning Herne finds his wife hanging in the barn.
Jedediah Herne straps on his guns and goes looking for revenge only it's not that simple. He has doubts about abilities that were once second nature and it is this that makes Jedediah Herne human. Also, he is 'helped' by his neighbour Bill Yates who is not the nice, caring husband and father that I thought he was at first.
When it comes to killing Herne is quite cold but he is a thinking man who is well aware of his weaknesses.
I've read a few Edge books but I like Herne The Hunter better.
This series looks good and I am now reading the second book called: River Of Blood.