Thursday, 17 July 2008

Sam Burrack - Ranger #1

by Ralph Cotton

Signet, April 1998

Arizona Ranger Sam Burrack was a man of hair-trigger courage and a lightning-quick draw. He carried a list of outlaws and tracked his prey relentlessly, alone. His goal was swift justice usually ending in death.

No one under the badlands sun would put the ranger’s skills to the test like Montana Red Hollis, a man more brutal than any beast, and more cunning than any desperado Burrack has ever hunted. No one was safe from the wrath of Montana Red. Now, on the frontier where the fastest guns ruled and only the lucky survived, a bloodthirsty killer was about to meet his match.

This is the first book in Ralph Cotton’s long running series about the man simply known as the Ranger. Cotton portrays his hero as single minded, a man who wont let anything, or anyone, get in his way of taking his prey down. In fact Burrack often comes across as cold-hearted as those he hunts.

Cotton creates a number of memorable characters, not least Burrack and Montana Red, but the one I liked best was the man running from his past, the gambler Gentleman Joe, who finds himself hiding behind a lawman’s badge.

Cotton’s descriptions of the landscape, heat and action sequences are first rate, as is his abilitly to build up suspense. The book moves from one set of characters to another effortlessly and the violent confrontations come thick and fast.

Definitely a worthwhile read for fans of the western and a book that has me eager to read more stories about The Ranger.

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