The Desperadoes of Gallows Gulch
by Clay Houston Shivers
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"Hope can be quite the bastard."

Sheriff and saloonkeeper Curley Barnes keeps the peace in mostly quiet Silver Vein, Texas, until trouble gets stirred up one way or another. This time, a young man jailed in nearby Milton, a coal-mining town, is threatened with a certain hanging for getting the wealthy town founder’s daughter in a family way. Not long after Barnes tries to reason with the livid father and the law in Milton, another crisis brews in the desert when the 4th Calvary slaughters innocent women, children, and old men in a small band of Comanches while the warriors are away. The soldiers kidnap the blond wife and daughter of Curley Barnes’ friend Two Yellow Hairs, thinking to rescue the ladies from a life of white slavery.

Meanwhile, as if Barnes didn’t have enough action on his hands, Wild Bill Hickok rides into Silver Vein. However, the “most famous shootist in the West” mostly provides support and much-needed comic relief. Barnes, his deputies, and Hickok set out to free the last of a long line of Sheriff Langtrys from his own jail, then make the long excursion to rescue Yellow Hair and Little Yellow Hair from the US Cavalry.

This third installment of the Silver Vein Chronicles promises much and delivers more. It is a fast-paced, adventurous, and rollicking Western with all the expected and unexpected lawmen, gamblers, miners, Indians, villains, whores with hearts of gold, and damsels in distress. Shivers brings a quirky touch to the trilogy with his many memorable characters (including some spawned by history) and his clever, imaginative scenarios. Western enthusiasts will not be disappointed in this humorous, standalone tale set in the last rowdy days of post-Civil War Texas, and if this episode is where readers begin to savor Shivers’ storytelling extravaganza, they’ll surely want to catch up on the series’ first two books.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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