Caleb Marlowe carved out his own legend as a frontier scout and lawman before arriving in the Colorado boomtown of Elkhorn. Famous for a lightning-quick draw and nerves of steel, he is mysterious, guarded, and unpredictable. Now, he wants to leave the past behind. But the past has a way of dogging a man…
When Doc Burnett, Caleb’s only friend in town, goes missing, his daughter, Sheila, comes seeking Caleb’s help. Newly arrived from the East, she hotly condemns the bloody frontier justice of the rifle and the six-gun.
Murderous road agents have Doc trapped in their mountain hideaway. To free him, Marlowe tracks Doc’s kidnappers through wild, uncharted territory, battling animals and bushwhackers. But when Sheila is captured by the ruthless gunhawks with a score to settle, Marlowe will have to take them down one by one, until no outlaw remains standing.
Nik James is a pseudonym for authors Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick. More well known for their thrillers and British-set historical novels, they’ve now ventured into the world of fictional westerns.
After an opening scene that shows how proficient Marlowe is in the art of killing as he takes down six rustlers, the reader is quickly introduced to the other lead characters, Shelia and the Doc. Burnett has already been kidnapped when we first met him and his situation is dire to say the least. He’s been taken for his medical skills, so the story becomes a race against time, both for Marlowe as he tries to find the Doc and for Burnett to save his patient and his own life.
Nik James often switches between the well-drawn characters, often leaving them in dangerous situations that makes sure the reader will keep turning the pages. There is a lot of mystery surrounding Marlowe, but this is slowly unravelled as the authors reveal some of his background through memories.
There’s plenty of action, tense situations and twists to the plot. Relationships between the lead characters are nicely developed. Early on, the authors throw some questions into the storyline, such as why a band of outlaws have suddenly started killing their victims? There are some surprising revelations about some of the main characters too.
High Country Justice proved to be an entertaining read; one I think all western fans will enjoy. I was left looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Bullets and Silver, that is set to appear at the beginning of 2022. A third book, Silver Trail Christmas, has also been announced.