The Guns of Retribution, falls into the bracket of pulp Westerns. I came across the two Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles collections on Amazon (reviewed here and here), and being a big fan of Edward A. Grainger, gave them top marks. However, as much as I enjoyed reading about US Marshal Cash Laramie, I always enjoyed the stories featuring his partner, Gideon Miles, so I was rather pleased to see that in Miles to Little Ridge, he gets his own story.
Told by the exceptionally talented Heath Lowrance, Miles to Little Ridge follows the Marshal as he heads to Little Ridge to pick up a man wanted for armed robbery. While in town, he runs into a pair of fairly inept outlaws - unfortunately for Miles, one of them quite literally has an axe to grind after Miles shot one of his party in a bank raid gone wrong. The story follows Miles' attempts to do his job, while hampered by a ill-thought-out plan for revenge.
I can honestly say I loved this story. Lowrance's writing is sharp and vivid, and I actually read the novella in one sitting. The action flows smoothly and 'plays out' like a mental movie, while the dialogue is very crisp and feels authentic. It's wonderful to see more of Gideon Miles, and with any luck, we'll read more stories about him in the future. It's certainly a bold movie to explore the racial tensions surrounding a black man in a position of authority, and it lends the series a slightly more serious air.
For anyone who's enjoyed the two Cash Laramie volumes, Miles to Little Ridge is the perfect accompaniment to 'flesh out' Gideon's character, but for those who want a quick pick-me-up, you would do well to try it out. Plus, at $1.18 / 77p, what do you really have to lose? Available from Amazon US and Amazon UK.
Five blunt pencils out of five!