Holmes on the Range #6:
by Steve Hockensmith
Independently published, Dec. 2018
Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer’s dream has come true: The Sherlock Holmes-worshiping cowboy brothers are finally in business as professional detectives. But their fledgling A.A. Western Detective Agency faces a few challenges. Their partner, Col. Crowe, is almost as cantankerous and secretive as Old Red himself. The colonel’s daughter, Diana, insists on tagging along for the Amlingmeyers’ first assignment. And that assignment lands them smack dab in the middle of a range war — with Big Red and Old Red expected to shoot it out with rustlers rather than rustle up clues and solve a mystery.
When the violence claims an unexpected victim, however, the Amlingmeyers are called upon to holster their guns (for a moment) and use their “Holmesifying” skills to track down the killer. But someone else is tracking them...someone who seems to set one ambush after another for the brothers. Will the Double-A Western Detective Agency’s first case also be its last?
It's been just over two years since the last Holmes on the Range book appeared which was more mystery than western, but this time Steve Hockensmith was writing it for fun rather than a mystery imprint so he decided to ‘pump up the western vibe’. Due to that decision this book certainly reads like a western that contains a couple of mysteries that need solving as only the Amlingmeyer’s can.
As usual the story is told through Big Red Amlingmeyer, his many humorous observations making me laugh out loud. The tale seems to be a typical range war type of plot but it soon becomes clear it’s much more than that and it spirals into a twisting and complex storyline that provides Old Red with plenty of opportunity to use his deducifying skills. I can’t really say anymore about that without giving to much away and thus spoiling the book for those intending to read it.
The story moves forwards at a fast pace and chapters often end on a cliff-hanger that will keep you turning the pages. There is also plenty of action – standoffs, gunplay, fistfights and other tense situations – that will be enjoyed by all western fans. Something that really caught my attention was the town a lot of the tale takes place in, it’s unusual set up being one I can’t remember reading the likes of before.
If you’ve not yet read any of the Holmes on the Range books then this is certainly a great place to jump in as it seems to mark a new beginning for the Amlingmeyer’s due to it being their first assignment for their new Double-A Detective Agency. Let’s just hope that Mr. Hockensmith doesn’t keep us waiting too long to find out what their next job will be.
Also available as an ebook