Ed Gorman writes a different kind of western--the characters are softer, lonelier and much more recognizable (they feel and act like people we know) than the standard fare. And the storylines run more towards the mystery genre than the western, and Powder Keg, the second novel in his Cavarly Man series, is no exception.
Noah Ford, the decent, almost philosophical recovering alcoholic federal man, is dispatched to the small town of Willow Bend. There is a bank robber hitting all the local banks and then turning the money over to small land owners to pay their mortgages, two other federals who are more apt to break the law than keep it, and a mysterious rash of murders that will keep Ford busy trying to figure a motive, and even more busy trying to keep himself alive.
Powder Keg is a mystery disguised as a western. Sure, the setting is set in the old west--there are cattlemen, saloons, livery stables, brothels, Sheriffs, and a whole lot of horses, but that's okay. A mystery is a mystery after all. It doesn't matter where or when it's set, does it? There are also a chain of murders, soft, sweet and sincere women, tough hard-drinking men and Noah Ford with a root beer in hand.
If you enjoy a good mystery, a western, or just like good, well-told stories, Cavalry Man: Powder Keg will sit well.