By Thomas McNulty
Crowood Press, April 2016
While passing through Cherrywood Crossing, US Marshal Maxfield Knight is confronted by a gang of hired guns who tell him to ride the other way, or be shot down. With no choice but to ride into the high country, Knight soon learns he is being hunted by a man named Silas Manchester, but why, he has no idea. Determined to survive this dangerous game that he’s been forced to play, Knight is destined to become the hunter rather than the hunted.
Aided by a mountain man named Lacroix, Knight decides to bring the fight to Manchester and get answers. Meanwhile, Knight’s partner, Deputy US Marshal Cole Tibbs, sets out looking for his missing friend. Tibbs will discover that he, like his friend, has also become part of a dangerous game that turns into a serenade of violence.
Thomas McNulty returns to a couple of characters from previous books, namely Knight and Tibbs – another couple of his early book leads get a mention too – making this a must read for anyone who has been following McNulty’s publications.
This tale doesn’t have a very complicated plot, the mystery of why Knight is being hunted comes to light fairly early on, which enables McNulty to have great fun with the fight for survival. Knight and his two companions against fifty guns! Nearly all of this book deals with that confrontation making the story read like one long gunfight and that is fine by this reader. McNulty really does know how to write exciting action sequences and even manages to inject a little humour into this deadly situation.
When Knight decides to take the fight directly to Manchester by killing all those that stand in his way the book becomes impossible to put down.
If you’re looking for a western that really is action-packed then grab a copy of this as soon as possible.