Friday, 9 October 2009


by David Robbins
Leisure, May 1997

The wide open boomtown of Diablo was a tinderbox in the blistering Arizona sun, just waiting for a spark to set it off. It looked like every prospector, gunman and hard-luck case west of the Mississippi had hit town, desperate to get what he could, and to hell with everyone else. Trouble was, that made Diablo one mean town: The homesteaders hated the prospectors and the miners, and both sides hated the cowboys and the ranchers.

Lee Scurlock was the spark Diablo was dreading. He was riding to escape his past in the dirty Lincoln County War, and trying to mind his own business at the stage relay station when three cowboys took it into their heads to make trouble. When the shooting stopped, one of the cowboys was dead, and Scurlock had found himself some serious trouble – trouble that would follow him when he rode with the stage into the blazing man-made hell of Diablo.

This book is filled with strong characters, both men and women. There’s the rancher, Kemp, who has a number of fast guns on his payroll, a man everyone believes is behind the ‘troubles’. Diablo is in desperate need of a lawman and a fast gun is in town to take the job. Lee Scurlock, a man with the law on his tail and a fast gun on his hip, finds himself drawn into this tangled web of confusion and mistrust. Throughout the story the reader – and Scurlock - is never quite sure as to just who is on whose side and who can be trusted.

Not only does David Robbins provide the reader with a fast moving action packed tale, he also manages to weave in some love interest which helps make the characters involved even more believable and real.

A book I didn’t want to put down until finished. A book that, maybe, will have the reader surprised that it doesn’t turn out how you’d expect, as in who lives, dies and comes out on top.


Matthew P. Mayo said...

Hi Steve,
I'd not heard of this novel, but being a fan of Robbins' work, I'm definitely going to track it down. Thanks for the heads-up!


Steve M said...

Other than his work for the Ralph Compton line, 'Diablo' is only one of two westerns to carry his own name, the other being 'The Return of the Virginian'. But that will change in the coming year....

Matthew P. Mayo said...

That's interesting, Steve. Looking forward to whatever he hands us.... I've read "Return of the Virginian" and liked it. The man is truly a writing dynamo.