Peter Brandvold's eponymous debut, “Rogue Lawman” was a very fine adult western. It’s not adult in the sense that there’s a sex scene every fifty pages (there isn’t). It’s adult in the sense that the characters are fleshed out enough to seem like real people rather than pulp archetypes. Much of the book’s action is prompted by a tragedy which is conveyed with a lot of depth and sensitivity. That’s a mark of fine writing, but the tragedy is *so* sad that the ensuing drama and action are somewhat less entertaining to read, although the trade-off is that I was rooting for the protagonist all the more.
I was hoping the title character would be sort of an Old West vigilante, and that’s essentially what I got. Pacing and plotting were very good, and the book ends pretty much the way I wanted it to. I visualized John Russell (of the early '60s show 'Lawman') in the leading role, and I think he fits. I’ve already begun buying up the other five books in this series. Sometimes all I want from a western is lightweight Jim Hatfield shoot-‘em-up pulp material, but when I do want a western with more meat on its bones, this will be the series to turn to.
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