Friday, 5 December 2014

Dead Man Draw

By Walt Keene
Hale, November 2014

Legendary Will Bill Hickok and his close friends, retired lawman Dan Shaw and veteran gunfighter Tom Dix, have no idea what they are facing upon arrival in the sprawling town of Dead Man Draw. But it doesn’t take long to discover that the place is crawling with hired killers.

The intrepid trio are soon face to face with more deadly guns than they have ever encountered, each one trained on the fearless men as they move through the settlement. The tension is about to break. Shaw and Dix are angry but Hickok is more than angry – he’s dangerous.

Dead Man Draw is, I believe, the ninth book in Walt Keene’s series featuring Dix, Shaw and Hickok, and it’s only the second I’ve read. As in Gun Fury Hickok doesn’t have a major role until some way into the story. He appears in the prologue and it’s during this that a couple of major questions are voiced that kept me reading to find out their answers.

Dix and Shaw, virtually penniless, take on roles as lawmen in Dead Man Draw, without really wondering why they’ve been offered the jobs. It soon becomes obvious that the men who’ve hired them, and those who oppose them, don’t give a damn about the real law and it seem all are motivated by greed.

With Hickok’s arrival in town the three team up and take on the bad guys in a bloody showdown that includes a couple of twists and also brings forth the answers to the questions set at the beginning of the story.

Walt Keene is a pseudonym used by Michael D. George, a writer whose Black Horse Westerns written under a variety of pen-names are very popular. A couple of his other series are perhaps better known than this one, but on the strength of this very entertaining book maybe Dix, Shaw and Hickok should be up there with the likes of Iron Eyes (as by Rory Black) and the Bar 10 series (as by Boyd Cassidy).

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