By Paxton Johns
The Crowood Press, February 2019
Born Gallant returns to Salvation Creek on a whim, but this leads to a bloody saga he could never have foreseen. Word from the elderly Frank Lake leads Gallant on a quest to rescue a young lawyer, who has been kidnapped to prevent her from blocking a corrupt Kansas City politician’s chances of fame. To the north of the town of El Dorado, an old line cabin becomes the focus for Gallant’s efforts. But it’s back in Kansas City that the climax unfolds, when Gallant confronts old enemy Chet Eagan in a clawing fight to a bloody finish.
This is the fourth book in Paxton Johns’ series featuring Born Gallant. The story does mention events of the earlier three books and the author does provide enough information for a new reader to the series to understand how those events shape what happens in this tale, along with the relationships between the various characters, so that the book can be read as a stand-alone tale, but I would recommend reading the earlier books first to get the most from this one. Those books being Encounter at Salvation Creek, The Killing of Jericho Slade and The Bloody Trail to Redemption. It’s not just Born Gallant who links the books and once again Gallant finds his life entwined with that of Melody Lake and Stick McCrae, to name but two.
The plot seems fairly straight-forward to begin with, but the author soon slips in a number of twists and turns that soon had me wondering how Gallant and friends could possibly rescue Melody in time to bring down the corrupt politician. It’s these surprising elements that keep me returning to this author’s work along with his ability to tell his stories in a gripping and entertaining style that is a pleasure to read.
There may only be four Born Gallant books at the moment but there are plenty of other Black Horse Westerns from this author to choose from as he writes under other pseudonyms too, Will Keen, Matt Laidlaw, Jim Lawless and Jack Sheriff. His real name is John Paxton Sheriff and you can read an interview I did with him here. If you are looking for a new western author to try then this author is certainly one worth considering.