Cowboys, Cattle and Cutthroats


WESTERN:  When Nic Breedlove comes across a dying man, he doesn’t know his life is about to drastically change. The dying man, Will Starr, tells him to take a puzzle box and some documents to a Wells Fargo agent in Denver. Hoping for a reward, Nic agrees but does not know taking the box will put him in the crosshairs of Will’s sister, Ochessa, a hard-shooting, hard-working woman with a plan to save her family’s ranch. After crossing paths with Ochessa, Nic can’t stop thinking about her. As they work together to save the Starr ranch and find Will’s killer, they can’t deny the fireworks between them, much as they would like to. Now, if they can only survive long enough, their blistering chemistry may lead to something deeper and lasting.

“Cowboys, Cattle and Cutthroats” delivers western action from its first pages, full of gunplay, saloons, horses, and even a stoic Native American companion. The main characters have interesting attributes readers might not see in other westerns, attributes some may find implausible. Ochessa is hard working and an expert shot but also a vegetarian and very well informed about Greek philosophers. Nic is typically fast with a gun and a gambler, but also a world traveler, with a mysterious agenda. Lame Bear, Ochessa’s laconic sidekick, is delightfully wise with a touch of the mystic in him. Unfortunately, the plot, which is full of action, often dips into clichés, and the prose tends to be turgid with western tropes. The plot is, however, interesting and creative, with enough mystery to let fans of western romances overlook the novel’s other flaws.

Marc Joseph