I was very surprised by the reading experience of Peter Brandvold’s Rogue Lawman. From the cover description I was expecting a rollicking revenge story with brutal action scenes. What I got was quite different.
Rogue Lawman opened up as revenge tales often do, with the horrible act that drives the hero to his task. Gideon Hawk is a US Marshall, temporarily laid up with a broken wing and dealing cards on the side, enjoying some time with his loving wife and a son that, if he were born 100 years later, we would have called learning disabled. Frankly, this was a pretty boring opening to what was advertised as a brutally action packed series. However, when I look back on the book as a whole this may have been the best part. The tender little family drama in the opening tugged a lot of heartstrings. The Hawk family’s little imperfections, the troubles of the son, the parent’s acceptance, added a level of every day drama a la Steven King that got me emotionally involved in the story.
Then there were murders, chases, shootings, escapes, more shootings, blah, blah blah. The action was a little repetitive, and the villain's regular escapes from our hero became predictable and perhaps a little boring. When I think brutal western I think Cormac McCarthy; Brandvold doesn't hit that standard, but frankly who could? Okay, James Carlos Blake does. Also, any scene from the Jonah Hex comic that features Jonah's father. Also, possibly the old Edge series, but I haven't gotten around to reading those.
Peter Brandvold is mostly known for these kinds of action heavy books, and he is pretty good at it. The writing of Brandvold's that I like, though, are the books with a human touch, with clever dialogue, with quirky characters. He's written plenty of those books, so I'll leave the Rogue Lawman series of fans of rolling