Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Last Lawman

 I mentioned before that Peter Brandvold was fast becoming my favorite Western writer, and his new book, The Last Lawman, goes even further in cementing the title. Talk about your narrative drive. Federal Deputy Marshall Spurr Morgan is 60 years old and feeling his years, but that doesn't stop him from setting out on another manhunt. His quarry this time is Clell Stanhope, a stone killer who is cutting a murderous swath through the west.
   Brandvold spends a lot of time with Stanhope and his gang, the Vultures, showing the reader just what a lowlife this guy is. Brandvold wants you to hate him, and boy I do. But Stanhope is smart too, and he seems to be ahead of Spurr and his allies at every turn, taking a serious toll on the heroes as the book progresses.
   Brandvold gives me even more to like when his hero from another series, half-breed Yakima Henry, shows up to back Spurr's play. You know what a sucker I am for a crossover. (And Spurr himself is a character from Brandvold's Cuno Massey series.)
   Spurr's age makes him somewhat different than Yakima Henry or my favorite Brandvold character, The Rogue Lawman, in that Spurr can't be quite the bull in a china shop that the younger heroes are, but he makes up for it with experience and guile, and he's by no means a slouch when it comes to fannin' lead. This is a fast action, pulp style Western, my favorite kind, but there's quite a bit of rumination on growing older.
   This is apparently the first in a series, though, so it looks like Spurr has a few good years left. Looking forward to joining him for more adventures.
   Next up on my Brandvold (under his Frank Leslie pen-name) reading list is Dead Man's Trail, a new Yakima Henry novel which takes place around Christmas.


Anonymous said...

If you like Brandvold you should look up two of the books he did under the Ralph Compton line Navarro and Bullet Creek, both about gunfighter/ranch foreman "Taos Tommy" Navarro. Both are excellent.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Thanks for the tip! I will certainly get those.