Saturday, 24 December 2011

Longarm and the Doomed Beauty

By Tabor Evans
Jove, December 2011

#397 in the series.

Babe Younger – cousin to the infamous Cole Younger – has shot his last bank manager. Thanks to the testimony of eyewitness Josephine Pritchard, the outlaw has been duly executed at the end of a hangman’s rope. But in a touching display of loyalty to their leader, the gang has vowed vengeance against the beautiful Miss Pritchard.

Now it’s up to Deputy U.S. Marshal Custis Long to ‘thwart the gang’s ill intentions towards the lovely lady. If Longarm has his way, every one of them will be reunited with their leader – in a special ring of hell reserved for cutthroats and cowards. Of course it is a single man against an entire gang – and if Custis doesn’t watch his back, he might be the one not getting any older…

The first part of this story sees Longarm getting re-acquainted with Miss Cynthia Larimer – whom he first met in the Lunatic Mountains (see book #386 in the series) – then being sent to make sure Josephine Pritchard is kept safe, during the journey to her he meets up with the amusing Anderson family. Arriving at his destination in time to save Miss Pritchard from an attempt on her life the book then becomes a chase story, which is filled with almost constant action.

Descriptions of the landscape are vivid as are the action sequences. Characters are well crafted and memorable – I enjoyed seeing Josephine change from being a scared girl into a tough woman ready to take on all the dangers thrown at her. The number of bad guys means there’s a large death toll and their killings are quite graphically described at times.

All the above means that I found this to be a very entertaining read, everything I’d expect from a Longarm book really, although I doubt it was ever going to fail in my opinion considering the author hiding behind the pseudonym of Tabor Evans this time around is one of my favourite western writers: Peter Brandvold.

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