Thursday, 16 June 2022


By Max O’Hara
Pinnacle Books, June 2022

Red Miller is more than a thief and a killer. He robs banks and trains not just for the money, but to spit in the eye of every badge-toting lawman who dares enforce law and order. He surrounds himself with only the deadliest of desperadoes – and takes a perverse pleasure in deadly bloodshed.

Five of those people have banded together. They have all lost something to Red’s murderous rampage. There is no place in America or Mexico where the bandit and his gang can hide from their vengeance. And they’re led by Wolf Stockburn, Wells Fargo detective and a dead shot who knows that sometimes justice comes only from the barrels of smoking guns.

The first two books in this series were excellent reads, and for me, this third one surpasses them both. The author has created a wonderful set of characters that had me rooting for them or despising them – yes, these people can be found on both sides of the law. 

Red Miller is wonderfully evil. Stealing, killing, he enjoys it all. Part way through this tale he gets hooked on a drug that sees him suffering mood swings, so you can never be sure how he is going to react in any given situation.

Stockburn is driven by guilt. Out to avenge a death and then more as the body count increases and he won’t let the border between America and Mexico stop his pursuit of Red, even if it means facing the Rurales. 

It’s not just men who have strong roles to play in this extremely fast-moving tale. There are women too, equally as memorable as the male characters, and they have important roles to play in the outcome of this novel.

The action scenes are tough, savage and fairly graphic. Brutal fist-fights and gunfights, one of which involves a Gatling gun. Many bodies will litter the towns and countryside before we even get to the final violent showdown.

I’ve been a bit vague in my descriptions of the plot and what I liked about this tale as I don’t want to ruin any of the plot twists this story contains. I will say I wasn’t surprised when the chase led Stockburn into Mexico as this is a favourite place for this author to set his stories. As it is no longer a secret, I can reveal that Max O’Hara is a pseudonym for Peter Brandvold. 

For me, Peter Brandvold is one of the best western authors writing today. His storylines are always gripping and full of action. Unlike some of Peter’s other work, this book, indeed the series, doesn’t contain any explicit sex and there is a distinct lack of bad language making it a safe read for all western readers. 

Book 4, One Way to Boot Hill, is due out at the end of December and that is one release I’m looking forward to. 

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