By Peter Brandvold
Berkley, May 2009
Cuno Massey is determined to start a new, peaceful life. But when he comes across a prison wagon under attack, he can’t just ride on. A gang of outlaws is hell-bent on granting four hardened convicts an early release, and with the only other lawman down, the marshal is badly outnumbered.
Dispensing frontier justice from the barrel of his Colt .45, Cuno does his best to even the odds and keep the murderous animals where they belong – in their cage. But the trail is long, and the gang is relentless. Looks like Cuno has just signed on for the ride of his life.
This book is full of brutal characters, even the women are hard-as-nails and add to the challenges Cuno will have to overcome if he’s to survive this mission he sets himself after doing his best to stay out of it. Unfortunately Cuno is still a little too trusting of the fairer sex and this could lead to his downfall. It definitely leads to a tale full of savage action that never lets up from the opening sequences to the final bloody gunfight.
Peter Brandvold, in my opinion, is one of the western writers working today that fans of the genre should not overlook. Granted his work maybe a little too violent for some, as he doesn’t shy from graphic descriptions of death, but don’t let that put you off as you’ll be missing out on some superb storytelling that grips from the word go.
The book is filled with terrific characters such as Fuego, and the outlaw girl Johnnie – the latter of whom you have to wonder if she and Cuno will become an item, something I’m not going to reveal here.
Peter Brandvold sure doesn’t believe in giving his heroes an easy ride either, here the odds facing Cuno are massive – four prisoners just looking for a chance to escape and kill him in the progress, and the large band of outlaws out to free the captives – odds that are surely impossible to take on and win? All this makes for one very exciting read that has left me eager to read the next book in the series.
I’ll finish by saying that I think .45-Caliber Widow Maker has to be the best book in the Cuno Massey series so far.