The new book by Spur award-winner Preston Lewis, Rio Bonito, just out this month from Five Star, which finds Wesley Bracken and his partner Jace Cousins prospering at their ranching operation in New Mexico territory at the confluence of the Rio Ruidoso and the Rio Bonito rivers.
Taking place soon after Lewis’ first entry in this trilogy, Rio Ruidoso, wherein Wes and Jace deal with Wes’ alcoholic brother, Luther, and drive out a mean bunch of Texas terrorists, the opening of Rio Bonito carries Wes and Jace into the village of Lincoln for the County Convention of Democrats. Good guy Bob Casey is standing up to Lawrence Murphy and his outlaws—rumored to be behind outright thievery and other villainous doings. Wes and Jace hope to stand with him, and they do—until Bob is shot. It’s August, 1875, and the killing is a fictionalized account of what actually happened as Robert Casey, successful rancho on the Rio Hondo, is murdered by William Wilson.
The shadowy comings and goings of Billy Bonney, aka The Kid, and the killing of John Tunstall are interwoven into the plot and handled especially well.
Rio Bonito added more depth to the scenarios first presented in Rio Ruidoso, and brought out Wes Bracken’s character in stark relief. I’m looking forward to the sequel, Rio Hondo, which I’m sure Preston is fine-tuning, even as we speak.