Tuesday 5 October 2021


By William W. Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, May 2020

Once upon a time in the Old West, Buck Trammel was a Pinkerton agent with a promising future. But after a tragic incident in a case gone wrong, he struck out for the wide-open spaces of Wichita, Kansas. Working as a bouncer at The Gilded Lily Saloon, he hopes to stay out of trouble. But soon enough, his skills are put to the test. Two of the Bowman clan turn a friendly card game with a drunk gambler into a killer-take-all confrontation. Buck saves the gambler’s life, but at the cost of the Bowman men. That’s when Deputy Wyatt Earp arrives. He warns Buck that he’d better get out of town, pronto, and take the gambler with him. The rest is history – if he lives long enough to tell it . . . 

The blurb deals with the opening scenes of this fast-moving tale about greed, power and the law. As Trammel and the gambler, Adam Hagen, put distance between themselves and Wichita their true characters slowly emerge and a friendship is formed. Behind them come some of the Bowman’s, desperate for revenge. Other killers are on Trammel’s trail too. The author switches between characters  as subplots develop and shape the main storyline.

Adam decides he and Trammel should head to the Hagan family home near the town of Blackstone, just North of Laramie, even though he doesn’t think he’ll be welcomed by his cattle baron father. Once they arrive at the Blackstone Ranch the author introduces more complications to the plot that will cause deadly problems for Trammel to overcome. Trammel finds himself appointed Sheriff of Blackstone and is soon involved in plenty of gunplay and powerplays.

As the story races towards its end, it becomes obvious that some of the plot-threads won't be completely resolved, neatly paving the way for the second book, Bury the Hatchet, a book that I’m sure I’ll be reading very soon as North of Laramie was a very entertaining and enjoyable tale that left me wanting more.

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