By Chap O’Keefe
Black Horse Extra Books, November 2014
Originally published by Hale, November 2005
Pinkerton detective Joshua Dillard went undercover to a lawless Montana boom-town peopled by avaricious gold prospectors, ruthless bandits, fancy-pants rogues, and scheming dance-hall girls. In Cox City, he set his sights on arrogant, skull-faced Blackie Dukes and his bunch. But Alvin "Aces" Axford's safe at the Magnet saloon was robbed right under Joshua's nose. Who had spirited away Axford's haul of gold? Joshua had to buy that plucky songstress Kate Thompson had double-crossed the dangerous Dukes gang, luring him into a futile dance in a raging blizzard across the Bitterroot Mountains. It was one of luckless Joshua's most conspicuous failures. Not until seven years later did he return to Cox City, as town marshal. The time had come to solve the mysteries ... and to lay the ghosts of failure with a blazing six-shooter!
I think I’m right in saying this is the fifth book in Chap O’Keefe’s nine book series about Joshua Dillard, but you don’t have to have read any of the previous tales to fully enjoy this one.
In this story it seems Dillard has more than met his match in Kate Thompson, who makes for a very strong female lead character who seems to be one step ahead of everyone else. Having said that the robbery she masterminds doesn’t quite go according to plan and the chase is on.
Chap O’Keefe once more presents the reader with a fast paced book that is filled with action and a twisting storyline. Never was it obvious how this tale would end and the conclusion does come as a fitting surprise.
As with all of Chap O’Keefe’s books I’ve read this one left me eager for more. If you’ve not read one of his books yet then may I suggest this as an excellent introduction to his extremely readable writing.