cover image Manhunt


Wayne Barton. Pocket Books, $3.5 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-671-74576-9

Barton and Williams ( Warhorse ) have merged the western and mystery into a workmanlike period whodunit that will satisfy, if not excite, readers of both genres. It's 1894, and Texas Ranger Jeff King is riding toward a long-delayed rapprochement with his estranged half-brother, Sheriff C. D. Hollis of Willow Springs. Someone has postponed that reunion permanently, however, and King must become Hollis's avenger. He seeks out the lawman's killer in a town full of conspirators, land-grabbers and beautiful women--all of whom are intent on getting King out of town as quickly as possible. King soon discovers that five of Willow Springs' leading citizens had plotted to kill Hollis. But the shooting took place before the plotters were ready. Did one of them jump the gun? Or is the killer someone on Castleberry Ranch, land coveted by the plotters--land on which dwells the woman who has stolen King's heart? Adrift in the town's immorality, King pursues the killer and turns up the tension, resulting in four new corpses before he confronts his quarry. In the process, King loses several of his best suspects and the girl he loves, while keeping true to the code of the West. (Nov.)