by Robert J. Randisi
Pocket Star, September 2004
When legendary gunfighter John Locke is hired to ride shotgun on a fat payroll wagon bound for Turnback Creek, Montana, it's more than a job. It's a chance to reunite with his old riding partner, ex-Marshal Dale Cooper. But it's not going to be an easy ride as there are sidewinders in the shadows, ready to pilfer the loot for themselves. As the perilous trek to the remote mining camp begins, death is lurking behind every boulder and crevice and Locke and Cooper know that in this fight, there will be no winners – only survivors…
Like many of Robert Randisi's books, this novel is speech driven and has little action at the beginning as the plot and characters are developed. Due to short chapters (two or three pages long), and that much of the book is short lines of speech, this is a very easy, and fast, read.
The plot builds well to its exciting ending, throwing in a few twists along the way.
John Locke makes for an interesting hero – although at times I did start imagining him as Robert Randisi's other major western hero, Clint Adams, The Gunsmith, so alike are they.
So for fans of The Gunsmith this is a must read, and I'd also say that most western fans will find this an entertaining tale.
It’s a shame that this book is the final story about The Widowmaker, as Pocket cancelled its westerns without publishing the advertised third book in the series. I'd have liked to see how John Locke would have developed.