The Wicked and the Dead

Written by J.A. Johnstone
Review by Deborah Cay Wilding

Hack Long and his gang of outlaws were on the run when they stashed a fortune in stolen gold in Barstow, Texas, then high-tailed it across the Rio Grande. Now they have to bust out of a Mexican prison and head north if they ever hope to get their hands on the loot again.

In the authors’ newest tale of the Old West, readers are taken on a high-desert chase alongside Luke Fisher, Two-Horses, Gabriel Santana, Billy Lightning, and Long as they make a daring break for freedom in a race for the border. It’s going to be a bumpy ride with more trouble ahead in Texas. Each chapter is short, the language lean, the storyline packed with adventure, blazing guns, and dead bodies dropping left and right all over the place. A large cast of Indians, homesteaders, and lawmen pops up along the way without much character development, but the authors weave the lives of the five desperados into an unbreakable bond of loyalty that keeps the story on track. Set during the days when Jesse James was making a name for himself, The Wicked and the Dead has plenty of gun-toting action for fans of genre western fiction.