This second collection of Cash and Gideon stories is every bit as good as Volume I, which should come as no surprise to anyone who's been following this fine series by Edward Grainger (who everyone knows is really author/editor/publisher David Cranmer).
These stories of the Old West are tough and gritty, befitting the era. And even at a time when justice came swift and hard, a time before complex rules and regulations started favoring the rights of the lawless over those of their prey—Marshal Cash Laramie's brand of justice has an intensity all its own. He is sent out (sometimes sided by Gideon Miles, sometimes on his own) on the toughest assignments and this he seems to relish. He is relentless in his pursuit and if/when a showdown ensues he asks no quarter … and gives none.
For all that, there is a quirkily compassionate side to Laramie as well. And his skills as a lawman also include using deductive reasoning. In "Cash Laramie and the Painted Ladies"—one of my favorite stories in this collection—Cash dishes out plenty of lead and tough talk but, in the end, his deciphering of clues is what solves the final mystery. Conversely, Cash is at his grimmest and most unforgiving in the hauntingly memorable "Maggie's Promise". Another particularly notable story (although each stands on its own merit) is "Origin of White Deer" which details Cash's early years as a white child raised by Indians and then his transition back into the white man's world and how he chose the path of a lawman.
The stories are lean, fast-paced, impactful.
They will remind you why Westerns still stand tall.
Check 'em out, you'll be glad you did.
Persevere --- WD