By Paul Bedford
Crowood Press, May 2016
Former lawman Rance Toller and his lover Angie Sutter foil a stagecoach robbery just outside the frontier settlement of Tombstone, Arizona, and in the process capture the notorious gunfighter Johnny Ringo.
As a result, Rance is persuaded to accept the vacant position of town marshal, formerly held by one of the famous Earp brothers. Unfortunately, he soon falls foul of the Big Silver mining operators led by E.B. Gage, who want the law on their own terms.
With the dubious help of his new friend, Doc Holliday, Rance has to fight for his life against Gage’s ruthless enforcers, as well as take on a band of murderous cattle rustlers and the vengeful Ringo, who has escaped a jail cell with mysterious ease. It is not long before brutal bloody violence explodes on the streets of Tombstone.
Paul Bedford combines both real and fictional characters in this, the third, book of his to feature Rance Toller and Angie Sutter, the others being The Devil’s Work and The Outlaw Trail. The inclusion of people who really lived is not something new in Paul Bedford’s work as most, if not all, of his seven Black Horse Westerns have also had roles for them too. What I like about this one, is that Rance has no idea who Ringo, the Earps, or Doc Holliday are and is certainly not in awe of their reputations.
Ringo’s attempt at getting revenge for being captured and jailed by Rance sees an escalation in violence as Toller’s life becomes a mission to bring Ringo down. The town of Tombstone will erupt as dynamite and bullets fly almost non-stop making this an action-packed story.
Terror in Tombstone is a fast-paced read that thoroughly entertains and leaves me looking forward to Paul Bedford’s next book, The Deadly Shadow, due out in August.