In the first of this “Western Duo,” Sunset Trail has U.S. Agent Bruce Shane striving to thwart an illegal shipment of rifles meant to carve out a separate Republic of New Mexico as war looms with Mexico itself. A feisty young heroine helps put a twist on this short, powerful story of frontier intrigue.
This tale is only the curtain raiser to Twelve Hours Till Noon, in which folks of 1893 Amity, Colorado, take their politics seriously, even ready to assassinate their Populist governor when he arrives to help celebrate a new irrigation project. Local banker Matt Durgan becomes the linchpin to the deadly scheme when a three-man murder team seizes both his bank and home. Then the clocks of Amity tick away the hours until the following noon’s explosive finale. Winner of three Spur awards, Overholser has spun narrative magic that shines in both stories. —William Garwood