Wednesday 24 August 2022


By Terrence McCauley
Pinnacle Books, August 2022

Deputy U.S. Marshal Jeremiah Halstead keeps the peace in the mining town of Silver Cloud, Montana. But an old enemy has declared war against him.

Ruthless and clever, Ed Zimmerman would have become the leader of one of the west’s deadliest and hell-bent outlaw gangs. Zimmerman has offered a generous bounty to every desperado willing to put a bullet through the U.S. Marshal’s heart.

A death sentence won’t stop Halstead from enforcing the law. The sheriff of Battle Brook needs a hand dealing with some hell-raising badmen in the surrounding hills, threatening to take over the frontier town. Joined by Deputy Sandborne, Halstead rides hard for Battle Brook only to discover manhunters, aware of the price on his head, are in town, guns cocked and ready to collect the reward.

And Zimmerman has joined the outlaws in the hills, waiting to catch Halstead in his sights . . . 

Jeremiah Halstead first appeared in Terrence McCauley’s previous Pinnacle series about Sheriff Aaron Mackey, and now he has his own series. Mackey has a small part to play in this one as it is he who sends Halstead and Sandborne to Battle Brook. Events from the first Halstead book and from the Mackey series are referenced throughout this story but the author uses enough detail in these parts of the tale so that new readers will understand what has gone before.

Zimmerman is an excellent adversary for Halstead, and the outlaw’s plan for empire begins with a series of mine robberies. There’s also a bank heist that leads to a neat twist. As Halstead tries to figure out just what is going on in Battle Brook and its neighbouring town, Hard Scrabble, he has to deal with numerous attempts on his life as those eager to claim Zimmerman’s bounty try to kill the lawman. 

There is never a dull moment as the story builds in pace and tension. There are several plot twists that made me wonder how Halstead could ever defeat Zimmerman and his gang as the outlaw leader seemed to be one step ahead of the lawman at all times. During all the action, Halstead meets a woman, Abigail Newman, who may or may not have a part to play in his future.

Once again, Terrence McCauley has written a gripping tale that should be on all western fans books to read list. The story is filled with fascinating characters, plenty of gunplay, and has a gripping plot. The book has an excellent ending that left me very much looking forward to the next book, The Revengers, which will be released in March 2023. 

No comments: