BRUTAL VENGEANCE

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THE LONER
Number 13 of 15
By J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, April 2012

For a posse chasing a murderous band of outlaws, a quiet kid like the Loner with a lightning-fast gun is good company. And when the outlaws turn around and attack the posse, The Loner doesn’t have a choice: he’s now caught up in a running gun battle across West Texas. The Loner knows the men he’s fighting are bad to the bone – led by a merciless killer named Warren Latch. But what about the guys on his side? As men on both sides of the fight bite the dust, the Loner has fewer allies and no way out. That’s when a beautiful bounty hunter appears on the scene – to lead the way into another vendetta, another betrayal, and one final, bloody fight to the death . . .   

If it’s all-out action you want, then this book is for you. The author hardly gives his characters chance to draw breath between each bout of gunplay. From a savage robbery that sees the fiery destruction of a town, to the attempts of the outlaws to wipe out the vengeance driven posse, before a bloody final showdown. 

The plot is pretty much a chase storyline, as the posse tries to bring down the outlaws before they can reach San Antonio. The Ranger, Asa Culhane, leading the posse fears they will lose the men they are hunting in the crowded town. The posse has troubles within, as not everyone agrees with the Ranger’s decisions and many don’t want the Loner to lead them should something happen to the Culhane. Divisions in the posse could prove deadly. 

The author switches between the two side regularly allowing development of characters in both the outlaw gang and posse. The arrival of the beautiful bounty hunter causes more problems, especially for the Loner as he already knows Lace McCall – you can read about their first meeting in the seventh Loner book: The Bounty Killers – and the knowledge that they work well as a team is further strengthened in this tale. 

If you like reading stories that feature unusual weapons then this story will fulfil that need for you as the outlaw leader, Warren Latch, uses a matching pair of Mauser C96 machine pistols, guns that don’t turn up that often in westerns.

The closing scene sees the Loner offered an exciting opportunity, but will he take it? I guess I need to read the next book to find out, something I’m very much looking forward to doing as I’ve really enjoyed all the Loner series so far and can’t see any reason why the next one won’t be equal to them in every way. 

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