Monday, August 12, 2013

Review Roundup: Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

Wolf Creek Book 5: Showdown at Demon’s Drop
By Ford Fargo
Western Fictioneers, June 2013
$8.99 paperback, ISBN 1490356002
$2.99 Kindle, ASIN B00D6PPDNK
144 pages

When the remnants of an outlaw gang attack innocent women at a local church, the men of Wolf Creek embark on a desperate mission to rid the territory of the desperados once and for all. Outlaws are never as easy to dispatch as one might hope, however, and this time Wolf Creek’s wolves may have met their match.

One of the most striking things about the Wolf Creek series is that even when a volume begins with a tidy, slice-of-life scene in what should be a sacrosanct setting, a subtle sense of impending doom sweeps across the pages like a gathering storm. Showdown at Demon’s Drop, the fifth volume in the addictive series of collaborative novels, opens on the ladies quilting circle that meets at a church on the edge of town. From the very first page, readers will wonder what’s up with schoolmarm Cora Sloan (penned by Bill Crider), whose secret is eating her alive from the inside.

Very quickly, the mystery of the schoolteacher’s past (which no doubt will be revealed in a future volume) takes a backseat to a larger threat that has loomed over the Kansas prairie since Volume 1. The surviving cutthroats from Wolf Creek: Bloody Trail want revenge on a man who used to be one of them, and they’ll let nothing stand in the way of their lust for the traitor’s blood. After murdering one innocent woman, they kidnap the minister’s wife as part of a plan to lure Derrick McCain (written by Cheryl Pierson), now a peaceful farmer, to his death.

As usual, other members of the ensemble cast refuse to let anyone go down without a no-holds-barred fight. In Showdown at Demon’s Drop, deputy and former New York City cop Seamus O’Connor (Wayne Dundee), enigmatic Black-Seminole scout Charlie Blackfeather (Troy D. Smith), gunsmith Dave Benteen (Robert J. Randisi), and blacksmith and diehard Confederate Angus “Spike” Sweeney (L.J. Martin) defy the brigands’ order that McCain come alone to a remote hideout only he knows how to find. Despite McCain’s demand that the others remain behind, they follow at a distance, devising their own revenge scheme.

McCain emerges as the standout in this volume, as might be expected since his predicament forms the heart of the story. Thanks to some stellar writing by all the contributors, Showdown at Demon’s Drop imbues a tale of evil and vengeance with very human, and very relatable, angst. The residents of Wolf Creek, all of them hardened by brutal — and largely mysterious — pasts are remarkably resilient. Some former secrets emerge into the light of day in Volume 5, but more arise to take their place.

There is no end to the intrigue in Wolf Creek, nor is there any shortage of grit in the series. Fans of western action will lose themselves in this volume as easily as they did in the previous four, and they’ll be just as eager for the release of the next book.

Kathleen Rice Adams is a Texan, a voracious reader, a professional journalist, and a novelist in training. She received a review copy of Wolf Creek Book 5: Showdown at Demon's Drop from the publisher. Her opinions are her own and are neither endorsed nor necessarily supported by Western Fictioneers or individual members of the organization.


  1. WOW, Kathleen. Another excellent review. You've truly breathed life into the 'Revenge' of this Dish...and now I can't wait to taste more.


    ~ Cindy

    Cindy Nord
    NO GREATER GLORY/Samhain Publishing
    Always Romance. Nothing Less.

  2. Thanks, Cindy! When I say the Wolf Creek series is addictive, I mean it! :-D

  3. LOL, Troy! So.... When is Volume 7 due?

  4. Kathleen, thanks for a wonderful review of Showdown at Demon's Drop and for your support of the Wolf Creek series! I think most people who read the series are addicted--I know my sister is, and she is wondering about Volume 7, as well!

    I love the dynamics of the characters of Wolf Creek, and of Derrick McCain's family and friendship with Charley. These people are so real!


  5. Haven't quite caught up with all the series, but this does sound good. The short story volume does a lot to add some great back story. Doris

  6. Great review, Kathleen! Showdown at Demon's Drop sounds like a winner. Love the title!

  7. I have a real problem with this series. Every Wolf Creek book is more addictive than the previous ones. It's like being hooked on drugs, only far more thrilling and of course a lot healthier.

    Full disclosure: Of course as most of you know, I'm also one of the contributors to the series.

    Jim Griffin

  8. PS: Can't give you the date of release, but Volume 7 is nearing completion.

    Jim Griffin

  9. Congratulations to all the authors of Showdown at Demon's Drop. Ain'y it great having such a wonderful review?
    Kudos to you, Kathleen, for writing such a terric review.

  10. GAH! Mondays! Darn day job. :-\

    Cheryl, I completely agree about the character dynamics in the Wolf Creek series. Readers learn something new about each of them in every volume, and I think that's a large part of what makes the series so fascinating. (You've got a big job ahead of you, lady, since you did such a fabulous job with Derrick in Book 5. What are you gonna do for an encore? ;-) )

    I confess I have not read the short stories (Book 6) yet, Doris. I hope to start that book this week!

    Lyn! Good to see you! This whole series is dynamite. Anyone who loves westerns should enjoy it.

    Jim, if you weren't addicted, I'd worry about you! :-D I understand you have a short story in Book 6.

    Sarah, you're such a sweetie. Thank you so much for your kind words. :-)

  11. You're review is spot on, as usual, Tex. I'm ready for WC7 now, and yes, I'm addicted, too. But I have no plans to go to Wolf Creek Anonymous.