COLORADO CITY KILL
THE GUNS OF LEGENDE #5
After one book in the series in which they did not appear, Frank Landry and Emily O'Conner return as the primary agents of Alistair Legende to complete the Society's latest mission. I've come to think of the Guns of Legende series as a sort-of western Mission Impossible, with agents assigned to missions as their particular skills dictated. So Frank and Emily are the Martin Landau and Barbara Bain of the series, appearing on a fairly regular basis.
This time out, the plot is driven by a series of con jobs. The villain, Tate Holbrook, is running a scam on Colorado City, taking money on the false promise to provide the city with fresh water. When he commits a murder to protect himself, Legende sends Frank and Emily (along with another agent named Tomcat Meyer) to bring Holbrook to justice. This involves the good guys running a con of their own, designed to get Holbrook away from his ever-present bodyguards.
It's a wonderfully constructed plot. Plans go awry, forcing Frank and Emily to improvise a new plan while being held at gunpoint. A half-dozen outlaw brothers show up, looking for revenge on Frank and Tomcat over another matter entirely, throwing yet another monkey wrench into their plans. And it will turn out that there might be other people around running cons of their own.
There are a number of exciting action scenes, but the story's fast pace is driven largely by the efforts of different characters to outsmart each other. It's a Western AND a multi-faceted con artist tale. And it even sneaks in a look at the differences between justice and revenge. I loved it.