By David Robbins
Signet, April 2012
Tucked away from danger, Thunder Valley is a lush expanse of land cultivated by a tight community of farmers and ranchers. They’ve never had a need for lawmen, but now the Wyoming Overland Railroad wants to clear out the townsfolk to make way for a new rail line. Thunder Valley’s residents won’t budge, so the company decides to take drastic measures.
They hire four blood-hungry assassins to do the dirty work. But the lowlifes don’t know that Rondo James – an infamous ex-Confederate soldier who aims for the head and never misses – is passing through Thunder Valley. And he doesn’t take kindly to bullies. On the horizon is a bloodbath that will rival battlefields from his past, but Rondo, with the help of the townspeople, won’t stop until he has the enemy begging for mercy….
Rondo James is the kind of western hero you will remember for a long time, mysterious, even though his back-story is revealed as the book unfolds, a man who wants to live a peaceful life yet seems to attract trouble, a man with a reputation that others see as a challenge to better, a shootist with honour.
After a deadly show of gun ability Rondo finds himself swept up in the troubles of Thunder Valley. Who is responsible for the slaughter of hogs and then people? And if this isn’t enough of a problem there is unknown danger riding for a showdown with Rondo.
Rondo James isn’t the only well crafted character within this novel. There are the four hired assassins, the people who live in the valley and the nearby town, the gunmen riding for a reckoning with Rondo, and the elderly lawman who arrives with a warning and will maybe find a new life.
David Robbins gives the reader a fast paced story filled with gunplay, suspense, and more than one twist to the tale as all aren’t exactly who they say they are. The story is spiced with moments of humour, mainly presented through dialogue.
Thunder Valley is a very difficult to put down book that thoroughly entertains. It’s a book that should be on every western fan’s reading list.
Mention should also be made of the cover. The artist has really captured a terrific likeness of Rondo James.