By David Robbins
Signet, October 2014
When Alexander Jessup moves with his two daughters to the Badlands to run a ranch, he’s unprepared for the West’s deadly perils. But despite the dangers, his daughter Edana is determined to manage the Diamond B. And it may be possible, thanks to the ranch’s foreman, Neal Bonner, and his partner, Jericho, an expert gunman.
But Edana’s headstrong sister, Isolda, has other plans. She has no interest in herding cows – or in polite society, for that matter. So she latches onto cutthroat conman Beaumont Adams, and the two scheme to take over the town of Whiskey Flats with the help of the worst criminals in the Badlands.
Now Edana, Neal, and Jericho must face down a pack of stone-cold thieves and murderers to avenge a death and to save Whiskey Flats – or die trying.
David Robbins’ latest stand-alone western is packed full of memorable characters which includes two very strong female leads whose true personalities are brought to the fore with their move to the West and by the men they fall for. Robbins’ includes some brief, yet detailed backgrounds for all his main players which goes some way into explaining why they act as they do.
Learning the ranching business is one part of the tale as is the brutal way Adams goes about taking over Whiskey Flats and I was soon wondering how these two seemingly unrelated storylines would be brought together and this is expertly done through the mystery of someone who becomes known as the ‘cow killer’.
David Robbins superbly tells his tale in gritty prose. The story laced with bursts of deadly action, tough dialogue and many humorous comments. Why someone is killing cows becomes a gripping thread of intrigue and the final showdown brings both surprises and a fitting end to the book.