as by Frank Leslie
Signet, June 2010
The second book in the Colter Farrow series.
Colter Farrow is on the run from bounty hunters sent by a sadistic sheriff who branded his face. He finds refuge in the remote Cheyenne Mountains, working on a small ranch run by Cimarron Padilla and his beautiful adopted Hunkpapa daughter, Pearl. Colter thinks he’s found sanctuary at last.
But after a savage group of ruthless killers steal a cache of gold, slays Cimarron, and takes Pearl hostage, Colter is back on the vengeance trail. Aided by an aging deputy U.S. marshal, Colter is determined to bring Pearl back alive and send the killers of Cimarron straight to hell.
Colter Farrow is, at the moment, quite a different character to the heroes of Peter Brandvold’s (here writing as Frank Leslie) other series, in as much as he’s not, yet, as tough as them. In fact, at times, he allows his emotions to get the better of him. Yes he is as proficient with a gun, and gets plenty of opportunity to use it, but he’s still learning the art of survival. Teaming him up with the old, and wanting to retire, deputy U.S. Marshal Spurr allows for some excellent contrasts in character to be portrayed.
In fact Marshal Spurr is the most memorable person in this book, perhaps due to him being in it more, as Peter Brandvold switches between the main players in the story often. Pearl also makes for a fascinating character and you have to wonder as to how Farrow’s relationship with her will develop as the book races toward the end.
Peter Brandvold is known for writing very violent and savage books and this one more than matches any of his previous work in its graphic brutality, although I felt there was less of it than in some of his more recent publications.
As expected, the story is extremely well written, gritty, violent, tense, and at times humorous. The book also offers a number of surprises, mainly to do with who lives and who dies and to what the future holds for Colter Farrow and others. The end definitely has me eager for the next book in the series; let’s just hope it’s not too long in coming….