Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Blood Trail of the Horsetooth Widow - Frank Leslie (Peter Brandvold)

Peter  Brandvold's half-breed Western adventurer Yakima Henry returns in the latest release from Mean Pete Press, BLOOD TRAIL OF THE HORSETOOTH WIDOW, a sequel of sorts to the first book in the series, THE LONELY BREED. Written under the Frank Leslie pseudonym, this novel finds Yakima teaming up with the beautiful but deadly Paloma Collado to recover a stolen army payroll after Yakima is forced to shoot Paloma's husband. He doesn't feel particularly guilty about that—the hombre was trying to shoot him, after all—and even less so when it quickly becomes obvious that Paloma isn't mourning her late spouse.

Naturally this quest through Arizona Territory's Chiricahua Mountains and on down into Mexico puts Yakima and Paloma in considerable danger. They have to deal with renegade Apaches, ruthless bandidos, and a deputy U.S. marshal who may or may not have turned outlaw himself. Throw in Paloma's frequent attempts to double-cross just about everybody she meets, and Yakima will be doing good just to get out of this mess alive, let alone get his hands on the hundred grand in hidden loot.

As always in a Brandvold novel, the action scenes are gritty and very well done, the pace seldom lets up, and the setting is rendered vividly. Yakima Henry is a fine hero, plenty tough but with an honorable streak, haunted at times by his past, and a bad man to have for an enemy. There's an unexpected and very effective plot twist late in the book, always a good thing as far as I'm concerned. Brandvold is one of the top Western writers in the business, and BLOOD TRAIL OF THE HORSETOOTH WIDOW just adds to that reputation.


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