Where is Estleman, anyway?
Typically, he's at his
1950 manual typewriter
working on the next novel.
Otherwise, look for him at events listed here:
Who is Estleman?
Interested in more about
man behind the words?
. ISBN 978-0-7653-1600-4
Kindle Edition . ASIN B003H4I43Q
Publishers Weekly Review:
Prolific western and
mystery writer Estleman (The Branch and the Scaffold) combines
the best of both in his 43rd novel, an exciting western loaded
with intrigue, suspense, and clever plot twists. Deputy U.S.
Marshal Page Murdock is sent to Texas in 1884 to capture a gang
of armed robbers. The wrinkle is that Murdock must go disguised
as a traveling preacher, toting a Bible in one hand and a pistol
in the other. Murdock gets a less than pious crash course of
instruction from a defrocked priest and a wily evangelist, then
assumes the role of Brother Bernard Sebastian of the Church of
Evangelical Truth. Whiskey-drinking Murdock isn't exactly suited
for the clergy, and his cover begins to unravel when he meets
a former lady friend, a sheep rancher with a touchy history,
and a stone-cold Texas Ranger. A series of ambushes and deaths
build to a churchly gun battle where everybody is throwing lead
and dropping dead. This is one of Estleman's best, a smart, tightly
wrapped story about an honest lawman who drinks Old Forester
and knows the difference between a Presbyterian and a Unitarian.
Page Murdock is a deputy
U.S. Marshall, not a preacher, but hell don a collar for
an assignment in Owen, Texas. The Montana lawman heads south
to infiltrate a gang of outlaws operating in the area. To have
any credibility as a man of the cloth, he brushes up on his Bible
knowledge, and armed with little but a pious façadeand
a sidearm, of courseMurdock arrives in Owen, where hes
surprised to discover that Colleen Bower, a former lover with
a shady past, is married to the biggest rancher in the area.
He also amazes himself with his success at the lectern, where
he soon becomes a favorite of the locals with his Sunday sermons.
Meanwhile, his main dutyflushing out the bad guysis
complicated by the apparent involvement of Colleen and her husband.
Estleman is best known for his mysteries, but hes equally
adept at westerns, as he demonstrates again here. His novelsregardless
of typeare peppered with humor, irony, and melancholy,
and as a narrator, Murdock delivers all three. A clever plot
and a satisfying conclusion round out a very enjoyable read.
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