An electrifying debut to a promising series… not the one to be missed.
Shellenbergar’s remarkable first in the 3-part series has all the right ingredients for a thoroughly engrossing western: hefty action, the fearsome outlaws, the intimidating Apache and Comanche warriors, vast ranches, vigorous horses, a fearless, feisty heroine who is able to bull her way through horrendous circumstances, and mind-blowing action sequences. When Cinch McCall left her mentors, Elijah Pike, a bounty hunter, and Wang, a kung fu master, she has only one thing on mind: find and kill the four Comancheros who bought her for slavery after her family’s death at the hands of the ruthless Comanche Indians. But a chance encounter with Li, a café owner in the town of Santa Fe, put Cinch in the path of a malicious Comanchero who would stop at nothing to realize his malicious motive. As Cinch embarks on her journey of realizing her goal, she has nothing else but her wits, skills, and courage to depend on. The plot is ridiculously simple, but the way Shellenbergar has executed it not only keeps the intrigue high but also makes readers turn pages at a lightening speed. Shellenbergar makes the most of his setting: the novel has some truly fascinating detail of the cowhands’ life in the wild wild West. The nicely-crafted action scenes that are followed by a vastly satisfying payback adds to the authenticity of the western era. Cinch’s journey from the daughter of a poor rancher to a Comanche captive, and then a Comanchero slave to becoming the owner of a large ranch in New Mexico Territory is sketched with credibility and skill. The game of wits with her hunters, her panache for neat, fast, no-nonsense killing, and her cool demeanour throughout the most vexing circumstances intensify Cinch’s allure as a gutsy western heroine. For all the book’s speed and exhilaration, Shellenbergar manages to keep the emotional quotient of the story intact: readers will admire and sympathize with Cinch’s character as she offers emotional reflections on the loss of her family and her inhumane treatment at the hands of the Comancheros. The fine action, intrigue galore, sharp dialogue, and a thrilling climax make for a fast-paced, exhilarating read. Readers will wait eagerly for the second installment in the series. Shellenbergar serves up an engrossing western drama of violence and vengeance in this fine western thriller.