By Colin Bainbridge
Hale, June 2015
A stagecoach is winding its way towards the small town of Medicine Bend when it is attacked by outlaws. However the coach’s passengers manage to beat them off. This unusual array of characters – the new town marshal Wade Calvin, insurance salesman Taber, and Miss Jowett, on her way to care for her relatives – thus find their lives intertwined.
As the new arrivals settle in, the outlaws’ vicious leader ‘Gila’ Goad hears news of the botched robbery from his base in a disused silver mining camp in the surrounding hills. Named after the deadly Gila lizard he keeps as a pet, Goad is brutal and unpredictable. He learns of Calvin’s presence in town and believes he is the same man who once imprisoned him. Goad is determined to get his revenge.
When Miss Jowett’s young relatives are kidnapped, Calvin knows the race to find the outlaws is on. He must take the fight into the hills as he searches for Goad and his camp, and the stolen children – before it is too late.
Like other books I’ve read by Colin Bainbridge this one features a creature, so I’m guessing that Mr Bainbridge must be an animal lover. As Goad keeps his Gila lizard in his coat pocket I’d say it’s a youngster as an adult would be far too large to be kept this way. Goad’s habit of discussing his problems with the Gila are both entertaining and strange at the same time.
Bainbridge brings together a very different set of characters for this novel, and each will have a vital role to play in freeing the kidnapped children and bringing an end to the outlaws’ plans, for Goad has a much bigger prize in his grasp than just robbing stagecoaches and banks.
Bainbridge breaks each of the six chapters into a series of scenes that switch from character to character regularly. He includes plenty of action as the story builds smoothly to its bloody conclusion.
On finishing the book I’m again left looking forward to Colin Bainbridge’s next, not least to discover just what kind of animal will have a starring role.