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The second-born son of a prominent Texas rancher returns home to catch his brother’s killers in this tight, action-packed historical western.

Award-winning writer Edmonson’s tight prose wastes nary a word while describing the hard-edged character of Clint Cooper, a lawman in Porter’s Mill, Nev. Aware that his older brother, Jake, would inherit the family ranch, Clint left Pecos County, Texas, a long while before, content to make his way in the world. When Clint gets word that Jake’s been shot to death, he heads home to confront whoever murdered his brother. Clint’s first encounter with the sheriff of Stockton Springs makes it clear that if there’s justice to be had, Clint will have to mete it out himself. As businessman Montgomery Fitzgerald’s hired guns terrorize the Pecos country and lock up land left and right, leaving a trail of dead farmers and ranchers and shattered families, Clint spearheads the effort to take on the gang of vigilantes hiding behind the sheriff’s shield. All the while, he’s keenly aware of being watched closely by Emily Patterson; until meeting Clint, she assumed the men of the Wild West had faster trigger fingers and shallower values than their Eastern counterparts. Romance must take a back seat, though, while Clint eliminates the threat of armed thugs running things in Pecos County. Clint’s self-assured manner, strategic actions and firm advocacy of justice (not revenge) persuades the Cooper men, the surrounding ranchers and farmers and even Emily that he’s a wise and trustworthy man of action–he’ll get his man no matter what. Characters are played according to type–Shiloh Vance, the ruthless killer; Clint Cooper, the tough lawman with a loyalty streak as wide as the Rio Grande; Emily Patterson, the slightly cynical woman who dares to hope that this man might be different. Edmonson avoids predictability only because of his skilled plotting and cinematic action scenes. Vivid descriptions of the wild Texas landscape, coupled with dialogue that’s witty and deadly serious by turns, add depth and historical detail.

A fast-paced historical western lively with high adventure, sharp dialogue and a stand-up hero.

Pub Date: April 23rd, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59330-535-4
Program: Kirkus Indie
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