Sunday, 15 May 2022


By William W. Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, May 2022

“King” Charles Hagen is dead. The empire he carved out of Blackstone, Wyoming, by hook and by crook now lies in the hands of his children. Caleb Hagen has long stood in his father’s shadow, ambitiously plotting, and ready to stake his claim. Young and impetuous Bart Hagan planes to expand the family legacy across the nation. Debora Hagan’s ruthless nature believes the time has come for a queen to reign over the Hagan kingdom.

Only Adam, their estranged brother, has a different plan. His vengeance against their father requires him to tear down everything “King” Hagan ever built, even if that means shedding family blood. But none of the siblings reckoned that the bloodthirsty crime honcho Lucien Clay was prepared to send a murderous pack of gunslingers against them all for control of the territory.

Blackstone has been ruled by lawlessness long enough. The town is Buck Trammel’s jurisdiction. And he will protect it as judge, jury, and executioner . . . 

Those of you that have read the previous three books in this series will know that each story is self-contained, yet carries plotlines and characters from book to book. If you’ve been following the difficulties that have faced Buck Trammel as he tries to bring peace to Blackstone this book will be a must read for you. If you’ve not read the earlier books then you might prefer to do so before beginning this one, but if you do dive right in to this story, you’ll find the author includes enough information for you to understand what has happened before.

The introduction of “King” Hagan’s sons and daughters adds a great set of new characters to those that have survived the series so far. And it’s not just them that add fresh blood to the storyline, there’s the hired assassin Stanton who seems to be more than a match for Trammel, perhaps he’ll be the man who’ll finally put the lawman in his grave. If you enjoy courtroom drama, then this story has that too, as the validity of “King” Hagan’s will is contested in some gripping scenes that offer surprise after surprise. There’s an interesting turn of events in Trammel’s relationship with Emily. Trammel also gets an offer he finds impossible to turn down. All this and more, makes for a complicated and gripping plot that made the book difficult to put down.

The author neatly brings everything to a rousing and violent climax played out on the streets of Blackstone that seems to bring a close to all the storylines in this tale and those that have continued book to book. I say seems to bring a close, as a neat twist at the end could mean there’s more trouble in store for the survivors. One can only live in hope.


KNU said...

I loved it

hamin said...

looking forward to read it , western fiction has always been my guilty pleasure