A child grows up to be a killer, no, he's worse than a killer, he's a thief, rapist, and any other bad thing you can think of in this desperate and downright despicable human. It wasn't his fault because his mother died from pneumonia not too long after his birth and his father turned into a boozer with no regard for his child. His father had a good job in the mine before getting injured in a mine accident and lost his job and that added to his frustration and he drank even more if that was possible. He turned the baby over to a woman with a houseful of brats already and the baby had no chance of becoming a normal citizen. Harlow Mackelprang, had to fight for everything he ever got in life or he stole it, even the food to keep him alive. So you see, what else would a kid like that become besides a killer.
And now, he is going to his final act in life in Gallows for a Gunman, in Rod Miller's novel published by Kensington Publishing Co., A Pinnacle Book, put out in Nov 2005.
Harlow Mackelprang has to leave the little town of Los Santos because of his murder of the bank teller and a farmer. When the law catches up with him he has become the leader of a gang of outlaws and they are in the act of another dastardly deed in his hometown. He wasn't too smart about picking friends or places to rob and he's caught and thrown in the Los Santos jail. He is scheduled to hang tomorrow morning. Except for a man named Sweeney who is locked up a cell away from Harlow in the darkest part of the jail, there is no one else in the jail other than the lawmen. Mr. Mackelprang has several visitors come to the jail to offer their last words, among whom are the woman of ill-repute, Althea; the hangman; the preacher; and the bank manager. They all have some choice thoughts and words to pass on to him, but the most interesting to me was the preacher who gets asked some questions by Sweeney. The preacher is trying to redeem Harlow by quoting verses from the Bible, but Sweeney keeps interrupting and asks his own questions using verses from the Bible. I thought it was pretty funny, serious stuff. All the people coming to see him want Harlow to explain his misdeeds and apologize for them, but he doesn't exactly do that. The hangman's point for coming to the jail is to measure the prisoner, which he does, and reveals some of his background to the reader. It's practically a treatise on the art of hanging a human, a little morbid to be sure.
After Harlow is led out to the scaffold his father comes to clean up the jail and empty the slop buckets and talks about his own wasted life.
Gallows for a Gunman was an interesting and entertaining story and I'll be watching for other novels by Mr. Miller.