By Heath Lowrance
Beat to a Pulp, December 2011
U.S. Marshal Gideon Miles finds himself in the sleepy town of Little Ridge, Montana, on the search for a wanted man. But just as Miles enters town, he's spotted by a hard case who recognizes Miles as the lawman that killed his friend. Now Miles must face the wanted man, who claims his innocence and is raising a daughter on his own, while the hard case and a ne'er-do-well partner are gunning for him.
Edward A. Grainger created Gideon Miles and here we have a short story about that character written by Heath Lowrance.
I’ve never read anything by Heath Lowrance before – Edward A. Grainger (real name David Cranmer) must have faith in him to allow him to write about one of his two heroes, the other being Cash Laramie, who gets a brief mention in this story – and I found his writing style to be very readable, and I liked how Miles finds himself fighting for his life against two men he never expected to be trading lead with. In fact the main mission of Miles’ is really just a second plot line to the story.
Like in Grainger’s own stories this one also manages to squeeze in a little bit of racial hatred, and I felt this was handled well, although the seasoned western reader will have read countless such scenes in many books before, whether about black men, red, or half-breeds.
What I liked best about this tale was Miles’ determination to arrest the man he was after, no matter how many told him this man was innocent. How Miles will not deviate from doing his job and says the courts will decide whether the man is convicted or not. Many other fictional western lawmen would tend to take these matters into their own hands and decide to free the man if they felt so moved to do so.
If you want a short, fast read then this western novella ticks all the boxes. If you want an action packed tale, then once again this provides just that. If you want an entertaining read then that’s exactly what this is. If you want value for money then at $0.99 (£0.77) how can you pass this by?