By Bill Shields
A Black Horse Western from Hale, February 2011
As a young man, Ben Hollinger hunted down and killed the outlaw gang who murdered his family. He now lives a very different life as the marshal of a sleepy cattle town.
But his hopes for a peaceful future are shattered when he kills a young troublemaker who has forced him into a gunfight. The boy’s father, Nate Thornton, owns the biggest ranch in the territory and he puts a bounty on Hollinger’s head.
Violence sweeps the town as every local gun-hand tries to hunt Hollinger down to claim Thornton’s bounty. His only hope for survival is an alliance with the rancher’s daughter, Cordelia, but will she really be prepared to side with the man who killed her brother?
The shooting of Billy Thornton happens very early on in this story and from then on this book is virtually one action scene after another. As the bounty hunters and opportunistic gunmen gather and make attempts on Ben Hollinger’s life, so he is forced to hide. This, in turn, sees the lawman decide to sneak on to Thornton’s property to try and arrest the rancher. With Thornton, Hollinger, and a few others trapped in a room in the ranch house, Bill Shields provides some excellent, and very tense, reading.
Overall, this is an extremely well flowing, easy to read book. Shields paces the story perfectly, building to the final showdown smoothly. Descriptions and characterizations are handled expertly and I was soon wondering how Cordelia would decide which side she should support.
Bill Shields is a new author name to me and to Black Horse Westerns. On the strengths of this story I hope we will see more books carrying his name.
The Snake River Bounty has an official release date of the last day of this month, but is available now from the usual Internet booksellers.