DUEL IN DODGE CITY
THE GUNS OF LEGENDE #4
In this volume, we meet an agent of Alistair Legende that we had not encountered before. And the first few short chapters of the book do a superb job of introducing us to him. Lucas Chambers is a gunfighter, but we also quickly learn that he's cool-headed when facing danger; that he can come up with clever plans but also is able to improvise on the fly; and that he has Chronic Hero Syndrome.
In the first chapter, he's going up against another gunfighter who beat an aging prostitute to death, because the woman was the sister of a friend. Soon after, he randomly meets a child who's beloved dog was stolen and immediately undertakes the task of recovering the dog.
We also learn that Lucas' wife was murdered, leaving him with what in some ways a very cynical outlook on life. The details of how his wife died and an encounter with the man responsible are weaved into the plot.
Lucas' mission is to prevent the assassination of presidential candidate Rutherford B. Hayes. He is to eliminate one of the assassins, take his place, and find out who else is involved in the plot. But events to not proceed smoothly.
Lucas soon finds himself saddled with a partner he does not want--a woman who is almost certainly insane and who either loves Lucas or wants to kill him. Or both. But circumstances leave him with no choice but to accept this.
The story is punctuated not just by some great action scenes (a gunfight in a hotel room is particularly exciting), but also by the level of suspense maintained from start to finish. Lucas has to pretend to be stalking Rutherford Hayes, while at the same time watching his back in case other assassins try to take him out. And all of this, remember, is happening while he's looking after a partner who clearly lives in Crazy Town.
It all comes to a wonderfully original conclusion that I don't want to hint at--it's best if the final confrontation with the bad guys sneaks up on you without any knowledge of how its going to play out.