Tuesday 16 February 2010
GUNS OF PONDEROSA by Chuck Tyrell
Five hard men angle their way into Main Street just as the whistle blows for the noonday break at the Comstock sawmill. Amongst these men are the outlaw leader Nate Cahill and his sadistic younger brother, Wynn.
It takes just one look to convince Nate Cahill that there are opportunities in this town that beats robbing trains.
The gang cross the creek into that area of Ponderosa known as Bogtown and settle down in the saloon known as Old Glory. In the time that it takes to pull a gun and trigger a shot the owner and the bartender are dead and Nate Cahill has taken possession. Enter the law who quickly follows the others who have just met the Cahill gang.
As the town has no law, it falls to one of the gang to take up the badge.
When word reaches Fletcher Comstock, the owner of the sawmill, he doesn't like what he is hearing so sends for his old friend, Matt Stryker, to take over as Town Marshal.
Stryker, former lawman turned bounty hunter, doesn't want the job but out of friendship goes to see Comstock as he wants to turn the man down to his face.
Only Cahill is waiting and when Stryker arrives he is so badly beaten up that his face is disfigured. To add insult to injury the gang geld Stryker's Arabian stallion.
But Stryker bounces back and starts to clean up the town. The first target is to get the badge back and pin it on his own shirt.
Believe it hell has come to Ponderosa.
The job doesn't come easily. Although he has the help of deputy Dan Brady and old friend, Tom Hall there are those who do not like his brand of law. Not least of these is the editor of the local paper, Prudence Comstock - sister of Fletcher - who's editorials are a touch vitriolic to say the least.
All in all this story drives forward at quite a pace and was hard to put down. But it does reach and unexpected and fully satisfying ending.
It has been four years since the publication of Chuck Tyrell's last book. And like London buses after a long wait three come along at once. This book - Guns Of Ponderosa - published under Robert Hale's Black Horse Western brand due out at the end of February 2010; 'The Killing Trail' in August 2010 and one other in 2011.
In my opinion Chuck Tyrell delivers - and gives value for money.
Chuck Tyrell now has his own blog The Outlaw Trail (there is a link in the sidebar) where he is currently running a series called 'The Making Of Guns Of Ponderosa'.