Manhunter-for-hire Lee Kershaw takes on the job of finding cattle baron Duke Bowman's long-lost son in this novel first published by Fawcett Gold Medal in 1973. Bowman is dying and wants Kershaw to find his son so that the boy can inherit the ranch, rather than letting his enemies take it over after he's dead. Those enemies, of course, want to stop Kershaw and kill the boy, if possible.
A fairly simple set-up, but in his quest to find the boy (young man, actually), Kershaw uncovers a lot of dark secrets from the past. A friend of mine who read this novel compared it to the work of Ross Macdonald, and it's an apt comparison. I've said before that I consider Walt Coburn the closest Western equivalent to Macdonald, what with Coburn's obsession with the way sins and secrets of the past inevitably surface to wreak havoc with the present. But Shirreffs also does an excellent job of exploring that theme in this novel, and he's a better stylist than Coburn, to boot. Shirreffs' action scenes are some of the best in the Western field. Also, much of this book takes place at night, something that's a little unusual in a Western. All in all, a very solid job by Shirreffs and a book well worth reading.
UPDATE: There's an interview with Shirreffs from a 1986 issue of LIBRARY JOURNAL here. I don't have access to the full article, but some of you might through your local library or academic institution. Thanks to Charles T. Whipple for the link.