3 out of 4 stars
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Jake Cleary vividly recalls the henchmen that nearly beat him to death and the weeks of healing that followed. In his wild anger and lust for revenge, he took the fight to the man who hired the henchmen, Forest Crown, and burned the rich man's ranch house to the ground. When the wily older man promised his own retribution, Jake should have taken him seriously. Now two years have passed, and Jake has a wife and a happy home to protect. But hell is about to ride out against that little piece of heaven!
Forest Crown has not been idle and has hired more men to take out Jake and Jake's best friend, U.S. Marshal Pat Brennon. With their way of life imperiled by the bounties on their heads, Jake and Pat know there is only one way to end this fight—with someone in the ground. Whether that someone is them or Crown has yet to be determined.
The Hunt for Forest Crown is an Old West tale of justice and revenge by Michael Westborn. I loved being swept back in time to explore Colorado in the days when U.S. Marshals and experienced bounty hunters delivered justice at the end of a gun. Westborn did a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the West by incorporating authentic knowledge and research throughout the book. It was easy to engage with the narrative through the detailed descriptions of firearms, horse wrangling, and more. I loved the added suspense from the shoot-out scenes. It was intense not knowing what the outcome of each close-range engagement was going to be or who would live to see another day.
I also enjoyed the main characters, Jake and Pat. Although they were the very image of the tough, no-nonsense gunslingers you see in the old movies, they each had a tender and affectionate side that I appreciated. This softer side especially showed up in the attention and concerns they had for their wives and children. I also thought their appreciation for the value their wives added to their lives was very sweet.
There wasn't anything I disliked about the story, but this book needs heavy editing. As much as I enjoyed this Western, I couldn't ignore the vast number of missing and misplaced punctuation marks, misspelled or misused words, comma splices, and improper formatting for dialogue. I thought about taking two stars off for editing issues, but I honestly loved this quick and satisfying tale and was interested in reading more of the series. Therefore, I give The Hunt for Forest Crown three out of four stars. A professional copy editor or proofreader would be able to clean up the errors and let the full potential of the novel shine through.
I still recommend this book to those who love Western novels. This book is sure to put you in the mood for watching a John Wayne or Jimmy Stewart movie as it reads like the script for a Western film. This book can be read as a standalone, and there are several other titles in the Jake Cleary series for those who want to read more about the title character.
The Hunt for Forest Crown
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