The Stranger

In Darkwater, being young and female doesn’t amount to much. But Chelsea’s luckier than most. She’s the lover of the town’s feared leader, which she keeps telling herself is a good thing, what with the food getting scarce and the wells drying up. She’s secure and safe and can almost believe she’s happy.

But when a stranger rides into town, gun on one hip, whip on the other, Chelsea can’t look away. Especially when it turns out this stranger is a woman.

Nobody can say what the stranger is there for. But she brings talk of an outside perhaps no longer so chaotic and she knows far too much about the dark choices made in this town, back when the world outside was falling apart.

As the rumours fly about Darkwater’s bloodied past and the murder of a woman twenty years earlier, Chelsea finds herself being drawn into someone else’s terrifying quest for justice. Or is it merely revenge?

In a place ruled by fear, Chelsea’s going to have to decide whose side she’s really on, and how far she’s prepared to go, to uncover the town’s secrets, before more blood soaks the ground of Darkwater – this time, perhaps her own.

Original, unflinching, gritty and visionary, The Stranger is a stunning feminist Western for our times.

“The kind of book you wish you’d written…a wild and glorious ride!” — Clementine Ford

“A feisty heroine…so entertaining.” — Jessie Tu, author of A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing

Jem doesn’t do risk. He doesn’t play games with chance. At least not until his ex-girlfriend shows up on his doorstop in tears and tricks him into signing for an impossible debt.

Thrust into an underworld of card players who bet anything they can think of – favours, information, secrets, even coffee – Jem has to figure his way out of a debt he doesn’t understand, in a world where the rules are twisting, complex and never explained. Relying only on a woman who plays life like she plays a game of poker, and drawn to a young man who offers temptations Jem’s not sure he can trust, there is only one thing he is clear on: the consequences of losing in this crowd. 

Because the last guy to owe a debt like his was just found floating face down in the ocean, and if Jem doesn’t sort this out fast, he could be next.

"The John Wick of poker!" 

                                       — Castletalk Podcast

“An amazing story of intrigue and underworld card playing taken way too far” — Gerry Huntman, IFWG Publishing 

“One heck of a slick read…well-written, well-played and a seriously smart read” — Rebecca Fraser, author of Coralesque and Other Tales