By Jack Edwards
A Black Horse Western from Hale, January 2011
Ben Tobin had ridden for Wells Fargo for two hard years. He’d chased after no-goods riding the owl-hoot trail, survived shoot-outs, and slept beneath the stars more times than he cared to remember. But then his partner was badly wounded and Tobin decided to call time on his riding days. However, when his old partner looks him up to ask for his help, it’s a request he can’t ignore.
Now, he finds himself riding into trouble once again. Short-trigger men stalk the alleyways of Bear Creek. Powerful ranchers are playing a dangerous game, calculating there is big money for the taking. Hired killers target Tobin and he’ll need all his old skills with his Navy Colt to survive….
Jack Edwardes is a new author to me, and Bear Creek is his seventh Black Horse Western. I’ve seen other reviews of this writer's work, which have always held his work in high esteem, so I’ve always wanted to read one his books.
This story begins with Tobin rescuing a young woman from two men so it seems he’s the good guy, but moments later Edwardes springs a surprise or two which reveals Tobin to be a wanted outlaw, and he’s soon in jail. It’s not long before the life of Tobin turns to another twist, making me wonder just which side of the law he really lives on?
Who Tobin really is isn’t the only mystery Edwardes includes. Why has one of the rancher’s ordered fifty Winchesters? This becomes even stranger when the rancher denies all knowledge of buying these weapons. Then there’s the small army of outlaws camped outside of town, why are they here? So, Edwardes works in plenty of questions to keep the readers attention.
The book is filled with well-drawn characters, good dialogue, and excellent descriptions of landscape and action. The story moves forward at a swift pace and you soon have to wonder what is going on as Tobin and his posse fall for a bluff, which shows the outlaws to be one step ahead of him.
Jack Edwardes finishes his story with a spectacular battle within the streets of Bear Creek, which sees a Gatling gun brought into play. This provided a very visual conclusion to the book, which sees all questions finally answered, and left me looking forward to reading another book by this writer.
Bear Creek is officially released at the end of this month, but should be available now from the usual Internet sources.