LONGARM: HELL UP NORTH is the 365th entry in the long-running Longarm series, and it’s a good one. This yarn finds Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long in the far northern reaches of Dakota Territory, trying to bring in a fugitive from justice before winter closes in. When he’s wounded in the line of duty, he seeks help in a small, eerie town called Helldorado that’s been taken over by a gang of outlaws. The owlhoots are waiting there for a reason, although Longarm doesn’t know what it is, and not only does he have to conceal his identity as a lawman and try to stay alive, he also has to solve the mystery of what has brought the outlaws to Helldorado.
The author behind the Tabor Evans house-name this time around is Peter Brandvold, who knows the country he’s writing about quite well. That shows in the book, too, as he paints a vivid picture of the bleak Dakota Territory landscape with an ominous winter closing in. As always in a Brandvold novel, there’s plenty of well-written action, great dialogue, and numerous touches of humor. He remains one of the best in the business at picking out just the right details to make a scene come to life.
This is one of the most entertaining Longarms I’ve read in a while, and if you’re a fan of the series or just enjoy a good, gritty Western yarn, I recommend you pick up a copy.