Return of the Outlaw

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reviewed by Teri Graff, Staff Writer
Return of the Outlaw by Craig Curtis. Published by Granite Publishing and Distribution.

Jeff Havens returns home from the Civil War, nurturing wounds from the war as well as wondering why he had not heard from the woman he loves – they were so close and yet – she had stopped writing. When he did see her, she was so distant. Rather than force his feelings upon her, he walks away. Little did either of them know that her mother had absconded with their letters to each other so each felt hurt. Jeff leaves to return 7 years after learning of his grandfather’s death, only to find his ranch had been stolen from him, his lifelong friend Amado in hiding and his own life in danger. He also learned that Anne, the woman he loved, had married the evil man who had stolen his ranch. Tom Stewart brands him an outlaw, kills his friend Amado and proceeds to take land from all those he could. With the sheriff and Mayor in his pocket he is able to get away with everything until Jeff finds a way to rid the country of this evil man and his cohorts, at the same time saving Anne and her baby daughter. In the end the hero gets the girl and all is well.

I really enjoyed the suspense built up layer by layer as character after character is influenced by Tom Stewart. Our Hero, Jeff, though exhausted and at the end of his rope many times throughout the book, is able to effectively and honorably eliminate the evil and often cruel efforts of Tom Stewart. The rugged countryside and difficulties encountered by ranchers of that era are effectively described so the reader can imagine both the surroundings and lifestyle of the people involved in this riveting tale.