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Elsewhere, Aaron Mackey, Halstead’s boss, is attempting to get the warrant rescinded, but that seems to be a difficult political battle.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.

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