Friday, September 14, 2012
Rogue Lawman: Deadly Prey
Gideon Hawk, once a US Marshall and now a vigilante known as The Rogue Lawman, obviously isn't someone to get on the bad side of. When young and pretty Catherine McCormick comes to his isolated cabin in the mountains, seeking vengeance for her murdered brother and other people in the mining camp where her family lives, Hawk doesn't hesitate to take up the hunt for the killers, even though there are close to twenty of them. And really, knowing Hawk, those odds aren't that long. A man who doesn't care if he lives or dies is the last man you want to cross. But what Hawk doesn't know is that while he's hunting the killers, a hired killer is also hunting him.
The more I read of Peter Brandvold's work the more impressed I am. Two things that stood out to me as I read Deadly Prey were his ability to write headlong action, which any pulp fan would love, and his ability to set a scene with just the right amount of detail. When Hawk sees a hazy landscape through a veil of sleet you see it too. Anyone who writes knows how hard it is to get the reader to 'feel' the surroundings. Brandvold has that down.
And the action? Man the action just flies. This is just my sort of Western, the sort of thing that I think Robert E. Howard would have loved. Though Brandvold has been compared to Louis L'Amour his books seem more like spaghetti westerns than old school sagebrush sagas to me. Obviously the man knows his way around the old West, but his plots move at such a relentless pace and there is so much over the top violence that it's almost like what if Mickey Spillane had written Westerns. And Gideon Hawk is the hardest hardcase since Ben Haas's Fargo. Seriously, if you like this sort of hard edged Western you need to check out the Rogue Lawman.
While picking up the Rogue lawman books I grabbed a couple of entries from two of Brandvold's other series as well and plan to pick up some of his books written under the Frank Leslie pen name. Mean Pete, as he is sometimes known, is fast becoming one of my favorite writers.
Swing by his website and have a look at all his books.