Charter Diamond, August 1990
This is the first of a 12 book series.
Once, John Stone had everything a man could ever want: wealth, position, and a woman who loved him. But that was before the Civil War. Now, he's lost his fortune, and his fiancée has disappeared. All he has left is his Colt, a picture of Marie, and a mission – to roam the West until he finds the woman he loves. He is the SEARCHER.
Josh Edwards is a pseudonym for author Leonard Levinson.
Levinson's hero is a tough man, quick to use his Colt or fists, he doesn't back down no matter how large the odds, which is good for Stone as he has the ability to attract trouble without trying. Stone is also a little out of his depth as he ventures west, here hired to scout for a wagon train heading for Texas. The wagon train contains many well portrayed secondary characters, as are the cowboys, outlaws and Indians they'll come up against.
The story is confidently written and moves along at great pace. The book is filled with terrific action, my favourite part being how Stone deals with some outlaws wanting to charge the wagon train members to use a pass through the mountains.
Then there's a more personal battle that makes for intriguing reading, that of Stone's promise to himself to stay faithful to Marie, when faced with temptations.
To get the best enjoyment from this series it is best read in order, but please note that the publisher made an almighty blunder when publishing books 11 and 12 and put them out the wrong way round, book 12 should be read before #11.