Book Review: Death Rides a Chestnut Mare

Revenge is a powerful thing, something that can take over the world and bleed out around you if you’re not careful…and that’s just what happens when Daniel Strange is killed in Indian Territory.

Death Rides a Chestnut Mare by Ralph Compton is the first in a Western series about Daniel Strange, a gunsmith who was quick with words and quicker with a gun. When he is killed in Indian Territory, a new gunman arises and quickly makes it known that they are out for revenge. Determined to find and kill the men who murdered her father, Dan Strange begins her quest for vengeance.

They say like father, like daughter, and this family is no exception. You can see the family resemblance in Danielle’s quick wit and fast draw as she conducts her investigation in an honorable manner that befits the image of an American Cowboy. The American Cowboy draws roots from The Virginian, a character of unquestionable moral integrity and cleverness to rival any man. We see that same intelligence as Danielle outwits and outguns moral wrongdoers in her path.

Many stories with female characters in a traditionally male role seem forced, but this story is organic and shows a realistic depiction of a woman making herself comfortable in a man’s world while remaining true to her purpose.

The book gets your heart beating with many close calls, but even Danielle begins to notice that the cycle of searching and killing could quickly become rote. While this story remains thrilling throughout, we’ll see if the next book brings more of the same or finds new ways to surprise and excite us.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a welcome change from a typical Western, but with all the elements we love in this genre of story. It’s clear that the author is familiar with the great Western writers.

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