as by Lance Howard
A Black Horse Western from Hale, 1995
The notorious Black Hood Bandits make a fatal mistake during a million dollar jewel robbery that ends their murderous spree for good. East coast detective Quinton Hilcrest journeys west on a shoestring and a prayer seeking the missing jewels in the backwoods town of Hags Bend. Within hours he is fighting for his life, ensnared in a tangle of hidden motives and the story of a beautiful outcast the town claims is a witch! Will he disappear into legend with the bandits, or be caught in the spell of the west witch?
Lance Howard (real name Howard Hopkins) writes fast paced westerns full of intrigue. His tales often have elements of horror that helps to draw the reader into his stories and makes them stand out from other westerns.
This book doesn’t disappoint in pace and plot. The characters are well drawn and the secret of the missing jewels is kept just that, until the author is ready to reveal the answer.
There’s lots of action, the first chapter brimming with it – a bank robbery, a stagecoach robbery and the end of the Black Hood bandits, finishing with a cliff-hanger as to the identity of one of them, that just keeps the reader turning the pages.
Hilcrest makes for a great hero, his inexperience of the West allowing Howard to insert some humourous moments.
All the threads to the story come to a satisfying end in a bloody finale.
I think all western fans will find this an enjoyable read and should make the effort to find a copy.