Beyond the Horizon – Ryan Ireland
In frontier America, a man lives with a pregnant woman who is not his wife. One day a stranger appears and advises the man to formally register the baby as his own at Fort James, a fabled military outpost. Setting out on a lonely journey across an arid and hostile terrain, the man leaves the woman in the care of the stranger. Soon after he departs, the stranger kills the woman and her unborn child and then sets off in pursuit of the man.
I was sent this book by the wonderful Oneworld Publications and I couldn’t wait to get started. Set in America with a menacing and dark underlying story, it was everything I look for in a book and more.
I initially found it difficult to decipher between the two main characters as neither were referred to by a name, but I picked it up soon enough and found it easy enough to understand who was who.
The story takes the reader on a journey to frontier America where a man is living with a pregnant woman who is not his wife. He has taken the woman in, given her shelter, and has told her he will help her raise the baby. Soon, and quite out of nowhere, a stranger arrives at their residence and advises that the baby will need to be registered, otherwise the woman and baby will be deported if the authorities stumble across them. Fearing losing them both, the man sets out on a journey to a fabled military outpost with the mission of registering both mother and baby while the stranger volunteers to stay behind and look after the woman.
Not long after the man departs, the stranger murders the woman and her unborn child and sets off in pursuit of the man he has sent to the fictional outpost.
It’s a rapid switch between both characters’ parallel journeys in a twisted game of cat-and-mouse, and you find yourself completely immersed in the twisted journey both characters take.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’m a massive fan of anything set in America, as well as being obsessed with American writers – don’t ask me why, I just am.
It kept the pace well, and was suitably gory enough for my liking without going too over the top with details, that may have put other readers off.
There were, however, a couple of places within the story that irritated me, mainly the insertion of complete sections of dialogue in Spanish. Now, don’t get me wrong, if a character is from another country, it absolutely makes sense to include pieces of dialogue in their language to create a sense of reality within the story. However, due to the other characters not understanding the spanish pieces being said, their replying lines did nothing to help me understand what was actually being said. This led me to having to google lengths of dialogue when I got home to try and decipher what had been said. I felt like these pieces could have been tackled a little better, and unfortunately led to me as the reader feeling a little stupid and like the author was showing off a bit, which I didn’t like.
Other than that, as mentioned above, I did really enjoy this book. I found it easy to get back into after putting it down and would certainly recommend it to friends of mine.
It was the first book I had read from Oneworld, and I would be interested in reading more publications from them, they have a really fresh taste in books and authors, which I like.
So, in a nutshell, read this book. It’s great, and will keep you guessing how it will end right to the very last chapter. A very exciting read.