High Country Justice (Caleb Marlowe Series, 1)

Written by Nik James
Review by B. J. Sedlock

Caleb Marlowe lives alone on a ranch near Elkton, Colorado in 1878. In chapter one, he kills several men trying to rustle his cattle, for which he endures the disapproval of city slicker Sheila Burnett. She’s newly arrived in town and has come to inquire whether Caleb knows where her doctor father is. He doesn’t but agrees to search for Doc while he tries to also find a gang robbing Wells Fargo stages. The gang has captured Doc and is forcing him to care for their wounded leader. When gang members go to Doc’s house to collect medical supplies, they strong-arm Sheila into going with them. Can Caleb thwart the gang and rescue the hostages?  The identity of the gang leader provides a twist to the story.

This is a pleasant way to pass a few hours, a Western adventure that doesn’t make the reader think a lot. There’s some dialogue about how Sheila changes from a despised back-Easterner and becomes fit to live in the West, but there’s not a lot of character development. This is the first in a series about Marlowe. Western fans who prefer escapism over complex issues or characterizations will like it.