Marco and the Devil’s Bargain (Spanish Brand)

Written by Carla Kelly
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1782 in Spanish New Mexico, Marco Mondragon, brand inspector for the government, and his wife, Paloma Vega, live on a ranch called the Double Cross. Always threatened by the Comanche, they are now faced with a new enemy: smallpox. Told that the disease is heading their way, they take on a stranger to the territory, the mysterious doctor Anthony Gil, to help inoculate the inhabitants of the local town and surrounding ranches. In order to obtain Gil’s help in this endeavor, Marco must agree to help him search for his missing daughter in Comanche territory: a devil’s bargain.

This book is the second in a series titled The Spanish Brand. Although it would be helpful to follow the character development from the first book, I feel that this novel can stand on its own. Known for her romances, Kelly has also been awarded two Spur Awards for her westerns. I found this book a pleasure to read, the characters well-formed and credible. Her knowledge and understanding of the era are excellent. I look forward to her next in the series. Highly recommended.