FRONT RANGE REBELLION
THE GUNS OF LEGENDE #1
The first in a series that has a sort-of Old West "Mission: Impossible" vibe, "Front Range Rebellion" is set in 1876 and involves a secret organization run by a man named Allister Legende. Legende receives assignments from the Federal government, then assigns agents to fulfill those assignments.
In this case, an insane soldier named Carlton Clark has raised an army of outlaws, robbed a train carrying gold to fund operations, and plans on making Colorado an independent nation before it joins the Union as a new state.
To foil this, Legende recruits a fast-talking whiskey salesman named Frank Landry. Frank is also very, very handy with the .36 Navy revolver he carries. Also recruited is the beautiful Emily O'Conner, who is a highly skilled and very observant gambler. Legende doesn't learn until after he recruits the two that they had once been married.
The book is an enormously fun read. The plot is expertly constructed. We get short but informative introductory chapters that bring Clark, Landry and Emily into the story quickly and effectively.
The very first chapter, for instance, recounts the train robbery carried out by Clark and his men. It's action-packed, while also teaching us that Clark is a skilled sniper, a ruthless man willing to slaughter anyone who gets in his way, and probably quite insane. That chapter tells us that Clark is a dangerous man and presents a serious threat.
When Frank and Emily are put on the case, the story jumps back and forth between them, but does so smoothly so that we can always follow the overall plot. Frank infiltrates Clark's army and Emily works to uncover a traitor on the territorial governor's staff. Both story arcs gives us plenty of action and present us with intelligent heroes who often have to think very fast on their feet to keep themselves alive and get the job done. Several great plot twist are dropped in as the story races along.
The book ends with a superb battle scene, with the situation changing rapidly, leading to a tense sniper duel...The book really is enormous fun. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.