Wednesday, 22 July 2015


By William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, March 2015

In Broken Bridle, Wyoming, Jeremiah Purdy, the town’s tinhorn sheriff is a college kid who wants to become governor some day. But outlaw Burt Becker couldn’t care less about anyone else’s ambitions. With Becker holding Broken Bridle in a bloody grip of terror, Purdy sends a desperate cry for help – to Shawn O’Brien, town tamer. Shawn’s mission: ride to Wyoming and pry Broken Bridle loose from Becker’s reign of fear. What Shawn finds is that something even more evil than Becker is haunting Broken Bridle. Now, in a storm of bullets and blood, in a deal with the devil, Shawn O’Brien can only tame this town by entering hell itself…

You want plenty of action? An involving plot that charges forward at the speed of a galloping horse? A storyline full of twists and turns, one of which that could be as equally at home in a horror novel? Demented bad guys with an army of killers? Draw-fighters aplenty? Good-guys escaping their own demons? Fear? Lies? How-they-gonna-get-outta-that situations? Fistfights? Gunfights? Gritty writing that demands your attention? Then this book is a must read!

The author brings together an excellent cast of characters, many of whom I hoped just might, somehow, escape the grip of terror, and high death-toll that plagues Broken Bridle, to perhaps appear in future Johnstone books. Who can forget the twins, assassins who’ve never failed to take out their target? And Becker’s gunman, Caradas? Deputy United States Marshal Brown with his bullish ways? The Chinese? The women? Thomas Clouston riding his massive horse whilst wielding a battle-axe like someone from a Frank Frazetta painting? And the strawmen – I still shudder whilst thinking about them.

Like the previous Shawn O’Brien book, Town Tamer, this delves into the darker side of humanity, where greed is all that matters and life is cheap. Where madness is the driving force and death feeds well. It seems Broken Bridle is destined to become a ghost town and that O’Brien cannot possibly stop this from happening. Does he? I guess you’re going to have to read the book to find out because I can’t answer that here and thus spoil the book for those who are yet to read it. What I will say is that I’m really looking forward to discovering just what horrors await Shawn O’Brien in the third book of the series, Better Off Dead, which I believe is scheduled for release next February.


Nik Morton said...

Great review of what seems to be an excellent book. Makes me want to buy it, Steve, which is the whole point of a review, I know! Congratulations on your 1,000th post, too!

Unknown said...

Steve, I am thrilled to have discovered your site, and you have just allowed me to add a book to my reading list.

BTW, at my blog, Beyond Eastrod, I have posted a comment about Elmore Leonard's The Bounty Hunters, and a question for readers of western fiction. I hope you will visit and consider answering the question.