By William W. Johnstone with J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, November 2016
Vance Brewster is a hardworking young cowboy. Stovepipe Stewart and Wilbur Coleman are two new ranch hands working at his side. And all three are caught up in a brewing, trigger-happy Montana range war between the Rafter M and Three Rivers. Then the fury suddenly explodes – in a hail of gunfire the three men must show their hands; they’re all hiding their true identities.
With Vance falling in love with the daughter of the Three Rivers manager, and Stovepipe and Wilbur paid by a tycoon who needs the violence to stop, all three are in mortal danger.
Their real enemies are hiding true identities of their own – and they’re not nice men. The body count is about to go sky high . . . and Stovepipe and Wilbur would prefer not to be on top of the pile.
This is the second book in the new Range Detectives series from the Johnstone’s that follows the undercover work of two cowboys who get paid to find trouble – and to risk their lives to stomp it out. By any means necessary. I’ve not read the first as this series isn’t available in the UK yet, a friend bought this copy for me whilst on a trip to America.
Stovepipe and Wilbur make for an engaging pair of heroes. Stovepipe seems to be the thinker of the two and keeps most of his thoughts to himself until he’s sure he’s right about his assumptions. This causes a bit of friction as Wilbur doesn’t like to be kept in the dark. But the true strength of their friendship comes to the fore when it’s believed Stovepipe has been killed.
Trying to stop a brewing range war isn’t easy when one side is led by a man who believes the only answer is to deal with things by force. Seeing how Stovepipe and Wilbur tackle this problem makes for fascinating reading, and when it’s backed by the mystery of who Vance Brewster really is the book becomes impossible to put down.
Filled with great characters, a gripping storyline that offers plenty of surprise and lots of action, I’d say this book should be enjoyed by all western fans. Me? I’m looking forward to the day I can get hold of others in this series as I’d like to read more about the Range Detectives.