THE GUNS OF RIDGEWOOD: A Western of Modern America

by Aaron Cooley

Verdict: Morality is in the spotlight in this well-paced, political thriller.

IR Rating



IR Rating

In THE GUNS OF RIDGEWOOD (The Sour Series Book 2), three damaged, dangerous men seek vengeance and “only a soul as tortured as their own would have any prayer of stopping them.”

A congresswoman, a congressman, and their families are savagely murdered, leaving one little girl who miraculously escapes. Security staff everywhere are on high alert, guarding the members of Congress. Nobody knows what links the victims or who will be next—except Congressman Blunt. To save his skin, he wants the most “effective hound” on the case, the fabulously named ex-FBI agent Sour Manco.

Sour is the antihero, living out his early retirement like a hermit, battling drink and rage. He has his own moral code and uncanny, unparalleled powers of detection. The last thing he wants to do is become reacquainted with Blunt, a vindictive and manipulative fool, but Sour has his daughter to think about, and Blunt’s got the blackmail card up his sleeve.

Aaron Cooley’s thriller, about Americans and their guns, rattles along at a good pace, with twists and turns successfully maintaining tension. Slippery Congressman Blunt aside, the heroes and villains are ambiguous and thought-provoking: who can wholly condemn men who exact revenge violently when they themselves are victims? To reveal who these men are, and their histories, would be a major plot spoiler, but suffice to say, when judging their actions, context is everything.

Women’s roles in this novel are not particularly evolved. There’s Resplenda, the Mexican prostitute who may just have found her soul mate, and there’s Jill, Blunt’s highly overqualified head of security, a character who is possibly enigmatic, possibly underdeveloped. She’s been both a tough trailblazer and a scapegoat. She’s always one step behind Sour—but then so is everybody. One way or another, she is put “back in her place.”

Certain aspects of the novel could be built up in places, but this lack never impedes momentum. The scenes with graphic violence, sex, and crying all made me wince a bit—for different reasons. But, when all is said and done, THE GUNS OF RIDGEWOOD is a good, fast, topical read.

~Jackie Spink for IndieReader

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