Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Stagecoach to Purgatory

By Peter Brandvold
Pinnacle, September 2018

After many years of ebook and/or hardback only releases it’s great to see the name of Peter Brandvold fronting a mainstream paperback again. Lou Prophet is one of Pete’s most popular characters and this book contains not one but two stories about the bounty hunter.

What do you get when you take one stagecoach out of Denver, add a thousand-or-so bullets whizzing past your head, while sitting next to two headless corpses caught in the crossfire? If your name is Lou Prophet, you get raucous, rowdy, ruthless revenge. Next question?

How do you catch a fork-tongued demon who’s busted out of prison to wreak unholy hell on a small Texas town? If you’re Lou Prophet, you team up with red-hot Louisa Bonaventura, aka “The Vengeance Queen,” and cut a swath of merciless Prophet mayhem in return.

Due process be damned…

Each of these stories clocks in at just under 200 pages long so Pete has plenty of time to create devious plots that move forward at an extremely fast pace and involve regular bouts of gunplay. Prophet’s shotgun being used to devastating effect on many occasions, perhaps most memorably in the first story when the bounty hunter is trapped in an overturned stagecoach.

Peter Brandvold writes tough, brutal tales filled with fascinating characters that don’t let up with the action for a second. As mentioned in the blurb for the second story it’s great to see him working alongside Louisa Bonaventura again (she’s appeared in most of the previous Prophet books) and Prophet has to deal with the green-eyed monster of jealousy in this one as well as some vicious people.

The first story sees Prophet’s lust for the ladies get him into real trouble and a letter from another woman seems to be a way out of this deadly situation. Of course, this letter asking for help turns into another life and death struggle. Long-time readers of the Prophet books should remember the lady asking for help for she is Lola Diamond who appeared in the first book in the series.

Whereas the first story is more of a straightforward tale the second is filled with twists and turns. Many of these surprises quite shocking – and I can’t reveal more without spoiling them – as who did what to whom and what the real relationships between characters are come to light, not to mention the whereabouts of a missing baby.

I’m sure all fans of Peter Brandvold’s work have probably already read this and enjoyed it as much as I did. If you’ve yet to discover Mean Pete’s writing then this could just be the perfect place to start as it seems to be the beginning of another run for Lou Prophet in paperback. The second book is already out and a third is scheduled for release in July. Stagecoach to Purgatory is a superb read and I’ll certainly be picking up the next one as soon as I can.

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