Everyone in the Arizona Territory who eyes an easy way to make a payout knows that Vulture City is the home to a prosperous gold mine. Nearly every stagecoach attempting to deliver the gold to the railroad at Maricopa has been ambushed on the trail–a trail known as the Gunpowder Express.
No one wants to ride the stagecoach and the gold from the mine is piling up. Newt “Widowmaker” Jones is in town and, having been taken advantage of by some of the town’s locals, needs to make some money. Riding shotgun on a coach that’s sure to be robbed is foolish at best, but since he’s given his word that he’ll get the locker full of gold to the railroad, where the Wells Fargo agents would take responsibility for it, he was going to do everything he could to live up to the promise.
Looking to cash in on this particular run was one bad hombre – Irish Jack O’Harrigan. There are plenty of places one might try to rob a stagecoach along the Gunpowder Express trail, and Irish Jack knows them all – but he doesn’t know the Widowmaker.
This is the third book in the Widowmaker Jones series but the first one I’ve read. It seemed pretty clear that I was missing out on some background information about Widowmaker, but what I was missing did not seem to impact the story.
This is a pretty classic western. We know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, and our hero is going to be tested – pushed to the limits – and there’s going to be some shoot ’em up gun play. In this sense the book works really well.
Author Brett Cogburn sets up the story and paces it well. He tosses in a few surprises which makes it interesting and he keeps the action at just the right tempo – not so often that it gets repetitive and not so rare that we’re wondering when something exciting will happen.
I liked our protagonist, but definitely didn’t feel I got to know him too well here. I saw one side of him – that determination – but beyond that I can’t say that I know him.
I’d like to go back and read the first two volumes in the series, and I’m definitely interested in reading future books in the series.
Looking for a good book? Gunpowder Express by Brett Cogburn is a tradition western story that is sure to please fans of the genre and could possibly get new readers interested in western fiction.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Brett Cogburn
series: Widowmaker Jones #3
paperback, 368 pages