Rancho Diablo, Shooter's Cross.
Rancho Diablo, Shooter's Cross
Flying D Enterprises
Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
ISBN: 9781453890240, US copyright 2010, 190 pages
Rancho Diablo seems to be a western book series put out by a small group of western writers. Colby Jackson is the author of the Shooter's Cross story. The story is a contemporary attempt to recreate the early to mid 20th Century pulp horse opera. It comes very close. The editing is good for a small niche group of authors. The story is robust and filled with action. The biggest weakness is a sparse backstory for the lead characters and a slight narration removal from the old western setting. On balance it is a better contemporary western than many being published by the mainstream publishers.
Rancho Diablo is a haunted ranch. A sulfur hot springs boiled to the surface of the ranch a few years back and poisoned the ranch's water. Suicide and financial collapse followed. Now the locals consider the ranch cursed with its overpowering sulfur smell and the slow poisoning of the land. Army Scout Sam Blaylock sees the potential in the ranch and knows how to tame the poisonous hot spring. The ranch is rich with timber and cattle and, when some people in the town of Shooter's Cross see Sam as a potential mark for their own gain, lead starts flying.
Rancho Diablo, Shooter's Cross is a classic style horse opera filled with gunfights, crooks and most of the expected sidekicks. It is topnotch when compared to other contemporary horse operas but falls a bit short when compared to the original pulps. It is an easy recommendation for the western aficionado and a solid introduction for anyone new to the genre.
S.A. Gorden, Reviewer