THE SANDHILLS SHOOTING is one of Chap O'Keefe's early novels and the second to feature range detective/hired gun Joshua Dillard. In this one, Dillard gets a letter from his brother-in-law, who is serving as a deputy marshal in a small town in Nebraska, asking him to come and help prevent a range war that's brewing in the sandhills area of that state. At the same time, Dillard is summoned to Omaha by a wealthy businessman who also has connections in the sandhills. Naturally, those two cases turn out to be related, but Dillard doesn't discover that until there are several attempts on his life, in one of which he's shot and left for dead.
Chap O'Keefe (who is really friend-of-this-blog Keith Chapman) takes a traditional Western plot and as usual spins it into something more with clever plot twists, well-developed and interesting characters, and plenty of tough, hardboiled action scenes. Joshua Dillard has turned into one of my favorite Western characters. Although he's fast with a gun and can handle himself just fine in a fistfight, he's hardly a superman, but rather a flawed but determined man trying to make his way on a brutal frontier.
THE SANDHILLS SHOOTING is now available in an affordable e-book edition. If you're a Western fan, I highly recommend it.
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