Thursday 29 February 2024


Book 6 of 6
By William W. Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle Books, January 2024

Ben Washington and his gang of murdering prairie rats have been terrorizing Wyoming Territory for quite a spell: rustling cattle, robbing stagecoaches and railroads, and slaughtering settlers. When Sheriff Buck Trammel of Laramie learns that Washington and his killers have been terrorizing an innocent family, he and his deputy ride out and bring Washington in the hard way – at the barrel of a gun.

When word spreads fast of Washington’s capture, gambler Adam Hagen begins taking wagers on the outlaw’s fate and quickly finds himself sitting atop a mountain of cash. Hearing of the large sums being bet on Washington’s fate, the LeBlanc Brothers come to town posing as cattlemen. Gorged with greed, the LeBlanc Brothers team up with Washington’s gang of cutthroats. It’s up to Buck Trammel to not only defend the town from hell bursting loose, but to also keep Ben Washington right where he belongs – at the end of a rope.

With the majority of Buck Trammel’s problems in Laramie tied up at the close of the previous book, This Man Must Die, it seems life could get easier for the lawman. That is not to be, as a new gang of outlaws or two are about to pose a serious threat to a peaceful life in Laramie. There is also nowhere near as much political wrangling in this story as there has been in the pervious books, but you don’t need that as there is more than enough trouble for Trammel to deal with in this story. 

The main plot revolves around Washington, but he is more or less a background character as he spends most of his time locked in a cell. It’s his gang, and the LeBlanc Brothers, that are going to cause the perils that Trammel will have to face. The LeBlanc Brothers being responsible for a massive death toll that sees Laramie shaken to its foundations, that will also change the life of some of the main characters in the series. Trammel also gets some news that will alter his life too.

The author really piles the pressure on to Trammel and his deputies. There’s a powerplay as the lawmen argue over how best to defend Laramie against these new threats. Adam Hagen has a part to play in both causing one of the disasters that befalls the town and in trying to stop the outlaw gang achieving their aims.

Trammel and the outlaws try to bluff and counterbluff each other, which leads to plenty of violent exchanges of gunplay. Tension mounts as Trammel has to decide whether to let Washington go and save the town or hang onto the outlaw and see Laramie destroyed and many of its citizens killed. How Trammel solves these problems provides a gripping climax to the story.

Once again, the author has written another excellent story that keeps the Buck Trammel series going from strength to strength. I can only hope there will be another one soon, but as there hasn’t been another book announced by the Johnstone’s, I will just have to keep my fingers crossed that one may appear eventually. 

1. North of Laramie
2. Bury the Hatchet
3. The Intruders
4. The Fires of Blackstone
5. This Man Must Die
6. Killers Never Sleep

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