By Gene Shelton
Jove, March 1995
Sometimes there’s only one place to find justice: on the wrong side of the law. And that’s exactly where the down-and-out duo of Willoughby and Brubs do their business…
The Devil’s Deathbed lies deep in the badlands – a hundred miles from LaQuesta, Texas (pop. 12), home of the Texas Horsetrading Co. There’s no good reason to head for this godforsaken plot of land…until Brubs and Willoughby get mixed up with Blue Davis and his gang. These cutthroats are leaving a trail of bodies in their wake – and one of those bodies belonged to a good friend of the two horsetrading partners. Now the Davis gang is holed up in the Devil’s Deathbed – and when Brubs and Willoughby get there, they aim to make the place live up to its name…
This book begins with a number of different incidents, some of which provide some excellent laugh-out-loud scenes and dialogue, that introduce the reader to the various characters that will play both major and minor parts within this story. Readers of the previous three books will have met many of these people before. I must admit to being quite surprised as to how many were killed off when Davis and his gang go on the rampage in LaQuesta and the surrounding area.
As the Davis Gang hopelessly outnumber Brubs and Willoughby they need help to achieve their mission of revenge. Gene Shelton brings this about by having them team up with another band of horse thieves (who throughout the series have stolen horses from each other on numerous occasions), which adds to the mix mistrusts and the fear of double-cross even though both groups have agreed to set their differences aside until they’ve wiped out the Davis gang.
Once everyone arrives at the Devil’s Deathbed the book becomes one long and well-described gunfight that proves to be exciting, hard-to-put-down, reading. The aftermath of this battle seeing the surviving members of the two horse thief gangs attempting to outwit each other when dividing up the spoils of war.
With Brubs and Willoughby’s return to LaQuesta, Gene Shelton has a couple of intriguing developments waiting to add change to his heroes lives, changes I would like to read more about but sadly won’t be able to as Devil’s Deathbed turned out to be the final book in the Texas Horsetrading Co. series.
Devil’s Deatbed proved to be an excellent conclusion to this very entertaining series that provides a wonderful mix of action and humour throughout. Recommended.