cover image A Lady of the West

A Lady of the West

Linda Howard. Pocket Books, $5.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-66080-2

As long as Howard's ( McKenzie's Mountain ) feisty and mostly likable protagonists are caught up in intrigue and sheer survival, her tale of revenge in 1860s New Mexico is fairly absorbing; but when action gives way to romance, the story trades momentum for ordinary lovers' spats. Victoria Waverly, daughter of a Georgia family devastated by the Civil War, replenishes the family coffers by marrying Frank McLain, a crude New Mexican cattle rancher. Unbeknownst to Victoria, McLain acquired his ranch by murdering its previous owners. However, the dead ranchers' two sons, Jake and Ben Sarratt, escaped and now, after 20 years, are ready to take revenge on their parents' murderer and reclaim their home. Jake is working incognito as one of McLain's gunslingers when his plan is complicated by the arrival of the innocent and beautiful bride: when they kill McLain, Victoria will inherit the property. Consequently, one more step is required before the Sarratt brothers can regain their family ranch: Jake, who desperately desires Victoria, must persuade her to marry him--or he must kill her. (Sept.)