Monday, June 22, 2015

Once More Into the Breech - Peter Brandvold

Every time I read one of Peter Brandvold's Sheriff Ben Stillman books, I decide that Stillman is my favorite Brandvold character. Of course, the same thing happens whenever I read one of his Yakima Henry or Gideon Hawk novels. Those characters become my favorite, for the moment, anyway.

But no doubt about it, Ben Stillman, who has "retired" from a career as a deputy U.S. marshal to become a sheriff in Montana, is a compelling character. In ONCE MORE INTO THE BREECH, the latest novel to feature him, Stillman has to deal not only with an old enemy who may or may not have come to town to kill him and his wife and infant son, he also has his hands full with a troublemaking young drifter, a beautiful but deadly female outlaw, the gang she double-crossed that's now after her, and a bounty that's been placed on his head. On top of all that, a bullet lodged near his spine from an old injury is causing him problems and threatening to paralyze him, or worse.

Ol' Mean Pete really lives up to his nickname in this one, piling troubles on his hero until the reader really starts to doubt whether Stillman will survive. As always, Brandvold is a master at choosing just the right details to make a scene come alive, and he's one of the best at writing gritty, hardboiled action. I had a great time reading ONCE MORE INTO THE BREECH and give it a high recommendation.

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