By Ben Bridges
Bookends ebook, April 2011
First published by Hale, 1989
They rode into Austin Springs stirrup to stirrup, six men with guns in the belts and blood in their eyes. The minute the town marshal Sam Judge clapped eyes on them he pegged them as trouble. He was right, too, because by sunset Death had called and the blood of innocents had been spilled in the town’s quiet and dusty streets.
Almost before he know it, Sam – once a celebrated town-tamer whom Ned Buntline himself had called ‘The Pistol Prince’ – found himself embarking on a vengeance hunt. A boy Sam hadn’t seen for fifteen years was hooked up with the killers, so that made it personal. But first and foremost, Sam was a peace-keeper. Convinced that the law would hang ‘em all, he wanted the outlaws to have their day in court. The only thing he never reckoned on was the fact that they might very well kill him before he could find and catch them.
This is the first of Ben bridges’ six book series featuring Sam Judge and Matt Dury. Hang ‘Em All tells of how Judge is reunited with his long lost son, the fact he is Dury’s father is something Matt is unaware of.
I’ve always found Ben bridges’ (really author David Whitehead) books to be extremely readable, very difficult to put aside once stared. He paces his stories perfectly and includes plenty of exciting action. This particular book builds up to a lengthy showdown between Judge and the men who robbed the town bank, who killed a young girl and the doctor in the process.
Judge is a man in his mid-forties and is feeling it, he also wants to bring his quarry in alive – a decision that almost gets him killed a couple of times. There’s some great human animal interaction as a cat, Mitzi, has adopted Judge. Mitzi won’t be left behind so Judge is forced to take her with him, riding in a saddlebag. Anyone who likes cats will easily relate to the scenes with Mitzi.
Through much of the story Judge has a letter, which remains unopened, this adds a touch of mystery to the tale. It’s only at the end of the story that the contents are revealed and this in turn sets up, I presume, the plot for the next book in the series, Riding for Justice, and left me eager to read more about Judge and Dury.
David Whitehead has been busy making many of his westerns available as ebooks, all now as by Ben Bridges. At less that £1.00 each (around $1.50) how can you not treat yourself to some of his work?