“High Country Killers” a Superb, Action-Packed Western Mystery

Jere D. James has done it again and has delivered yet another utterly riveting, action-packed Western novel. James’ latest novel, High Country Killers, is the author’s fourth book in the Jake Silver Adventure series, and some will say it’s his best.

James once again places his main character, U.S. Deputy Marshal Jake Silver, in the Arizona territory in 1889, and the story is largely set in the Mogollon Rim country in northeastern Arizona.

Marshal Silver goes to the rim to discover who is behind the high country killings (referenced in Book III, Canyon of Death). In so doing, the author introduces a host of murderous, villainous men, all intent on grabbing up as much of the pristine land as they can by raping and killing the property owners. The plot thickens as Jake slowly untangles the intricate web of evil.

Because much of the area is being settled by Mormons, the author brings back Jeremiah Atkinson (Book I, Saving Tom Black). Also included is Gunner McGraw (Book III, Canyon of Death) and of course, Betsy. Happily, the author finally arranges the liberation of Betsy’s sister, Margaret, who’d been held against her will by the Atkinson, a powerful Mormon leader (Saving Tom Black).

The author introduces a new, totally delightful, Shakespearean quoting gunman, Richard Moody, who adds a great deal of action and much needed levity to the story. Moody, originally hired to kill Jake Silver, befriends the marshal instead and plays a key role in Silver’s attempt to solve the mystery of the high country killers. Several other new characters are introduced in the book, including the madam of Holbrook’s House of Pleasure, LaBelle Fleur, and Katherine Reed, a winsome woman who easily gains Silver’s attention. Look for Moody, Fleur, and Reed in Book V of this series. Every character is extremely well-drawn and, as in every Jere D. James book, the author thoroughly knows the turf where the book is set.

All of James’ books tend to be historical, but this one is more so than the others. References to the Hashknife, the million acre cattle ranch owned and operated by the Aztec Land and Cattle Company are plentiful, as is the use of real people who served as sheriffs or outlaws.

As always, Jere D. James maintains his knack for writing a superb ending, and the final scene in High Country Killers will surely surprise readers. As Shirley Johnson, Senior Reviewer for MidWest Book Review said, “… the ending will have you drop your jaw in surprise.”

High Country Killers is available in trade paperback, eBook, and also in a large-print edition.