The Long Shooters by Daniel C. Chamberlain
Daniel C. Chamberlain
Unlike many westerns, The Long Shooters has an intricate plot with an engaging set of twists and turns, along with a somewhat surprising ending.
In the grinding death mill of the trenches of Petersburg, Virginia, in the closing days of the Civil War, a Union sharpshooter – a “long-shooter” named Ballou – emerges as the best sniper in a war where wholesale slaughter became the norm. Ballou perfected the art of the judicious killer. His ability with his cherished Stephens target rifle is legendary, making a nearly miraculous shot that no one else – North or South – could accomplish. After the war, he disappears…
Samuel Roark is a small-time rancher and part-time lawyer. One personal tragedy after another leaves Samuel gripped by periodic bouts of depression. When a hidden marksman of uncommon skill murders his son, the death leaves Samuel on the brink of total madness.
Roark’s wife Sarah, a woman of strength, grace and startling beauty is now both emotionally and physically exhausted by the tragic circumstances that have beset her family. After discovering her husband’s quest for revenge, she does everything in her power to prevent what she fears will ultimately destroy him.
Matthew Shaw is a known manhunter and soldier of fortune that people call on when they’re willing to pay someone else to deal with obstacles in their lives. When required, Shaw reluctantly uses his considerable marksmanship to achieve those ends. Now Shaw finds himself caught between a job he truly believes in, and a very good reason to walk away when he realizes he’s falling in love with Sarah, the wife of the man who hired him.
A Review by Carl Brush:
This is a mystery within a love story within deftly written frontier saga. Chamberlain’s language is as simple and clean and on-target as the rifles his protagonist and antagonist employ as the tools of their trade. And the technical details of his descriptions invest every scene with the clarity of a mountain stream.
The tale spends much of its time in that ever-fascinating space between what is beyond the reach of the law, but still moral; between what is legally permissible and what is just. Still and all, it’s not a preachy morality play, but a story deeply enmeshed in the flesh and blood and emotions of some compelling characters whose conflicts and motivations make for mysterious twists that keep the reader guessing.
A Review by Mudhen:
It’s rare to find a really good mystery set in the old west. This is especially true if the story accurately features the long arms and sidearms that were everyday tools for those who made their living dealing with crime and punishment, both within and outside the law. Unlike many westerns, The Long Shooters has an intricate plot with an engaging set of twists and turns, along with a somewhat surprising ending. The background and details of the novel are very well-researched.
Mr. Chamberlain spins a convincing tale of life and death in the mountains of late 19th century Colorado. This is an extremely engaging mystery with a suite of well developed characters about whom the reader can really come to care. It is certainly one of the very best western novels that I have had the pleasure of reading. I heartily recommend it.