I have been reading James Reasoner Westerns since long before I knew I was reading James Reasoner Westerns. A prolific and in-demand author since the 1970s, he has written under a number of pseudonyms and house-names for series titles including the Trailsman (as Jon Sharpe) and Longarm (as Tabor Evans). He’s also adept at crime fiction and adventure—he penned Hard Case Crime’s debut Gabriel Hunt novel, Hunt at the Well of Eternity—but this Spur Award nominee, with 200 or more books to his name, is widely revered for his Western tales like “Lone Star Fury,” where he is writing as Jackson Cole. This story actually heralds from earlier in the author’s career—going back near twenty years when it was originally published in Classic Pulp Fiction Stories (No. 2, July, 1995)—and is fortunately available again as an ebook.
Two men waited in the stygian shadows of the alley, cocked revolvers in their hands. Across the broad, dusty, tumbleweed-littered street, two more men stood in similar concealment, guns in hand, murder in their hearts.
Into this cauldron of death in the ghost town of Palminter rides Texas Ranger Jim Hatfield, sometimes referred to as the Lone Wolf. What brought him to this desolate, and deadly, locale in the western part of Texas? A message seemingly from the great beyond: a former flame named Sally Conway, whom Hatfield believed had died five years before in a horse accident, sends for his help.