Thursday 30 November 2023


Book 30 of 31
By John Wesley Howard
Jove, July 1983

The army’s been paying a pretty penny to haul government freight across the dusty plains, but now the quartermaster has a new plan: turn Easy Company into hard-driving teamsters…

So, while Second Lt. Taylor sets out to train his soldiers to be bullwhackers, angry teamsters plot sabotage. In the meantime, Lt. Matt Kincaid has an even bigger problem: someone’s selling army guns to hostile Indians, and Easy Company is taking the blame!

I don’t know who wrote behind the pseudonym of John Wesley Howard this time around, but it more than matches the quality of this overall excellent series. The author includes all the main characters we’ve come to know throughout the series. This book follows two plots, each as gripping as the other, with the author switching between them regularly. 

There are a couple of extra minor storylines too. The first of which sees a couple of soldiers trying to sell goods that have been thrown out by the army to the friendly Indians that live by Outpost Number 9. The other, features Four Eyes Bradshaw and his desire to get married. Both these story threads add some humorous moments to contrast with the more serious tone of the main problems facing Easy Company.

There’s not a lot of gunplay in this book, but there really doesn’t need to be as the main storylines easily kept me turning the pages to find out whether some of the soldiers of Easy Company would become bullwhackers and to discover who was selling the guns to the Indians, that latter of which hooked me with its mystery elements. 

You can jump into this series anywhere as there aren’t any plots that move from book to book, it’s just the soldiers that link the series together. Easy Company is an adult series, so you will find some explicit sex in the stories but there wasn’t that much of it in this book.

The closing scene left me with a big grin on my face and the feeling of having been thoroughly entertained, adding to the many warm memories of the Easy Company series I have as I’ve now read all thirty-one books. If you enjoy army verses Indian stories, and don’t mind a bit of sex in your reading matter, then I’d recommend searching this series out.

Saturday 25 November 2023


By Terrence McCauley
Pinnacle Books, October 2023

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of Jeremiah Halstead and he’s forced into hiding in the harsh Montana wilderness. Alone, desperate and hunted like an animal, Deputy U.S. Marshal Jeremiah Halstead is about to face his day of judgment. But he won’t do it alone. His deputy will side him and they will greet that fateful day with blood and agony.

Terrence McCauley sure piles the odds against Halstead in this book. Short of supplies the outlawed lawman has to fight off bounty hunting trappers before heading into the only town in the region and take his chances against being recognized. Of course, that doesn’t happen and it isn’t long before everyone in Barren Pines knows who he is. Some townsfolk befriend him, but can he trust them? Halsted takes some serious punishment. How can he take on superior odds and survive when he can hardly stand or see straight?

Elsewhere, Aaron Mackey, Halstead’s boss, is attempting to get the warrant rescinded, but that seems to be a difficult political battle. If he’s successful, will it be in time? Joshua Sandborne, Halstead’s deputy, is searching for Halstead in the hope of being able to help him. Emil Riker is also tracking town Halstead, but not to help him, but to kill him in the name of vengeance, and he’s got a pack of killers to back him.

The story switches regularly between the various characters as the author builds the tensions and brings the book towards its inevitable bloody conclusion. There’s plenty of gunplay as the tale moves forward in ever increasing pace. McCauley will soon have you wondering if Halstead is going to survive, especially when you take into account that the publisher Pinnacle seems to end series after only four books these days, and this is the fourth Jeremiah Halstead novel.

For me, Terrence McCauley has written another hard to put down tale. From the gripping opening scenes, he captured my imagination easily, had me eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened next. The excellent ending finished the story in a very satisfactory way and confirmed my belief that Terrence McCauley is right up there with the best western writers being published today. I can only hope that it isn’t too long before we see his name on the front of another western very soon.