... a mix-up of Western and mystery with a taciturn hero and a twisting plot, wrapped in lived-in details. Fans of James Lee Burke and Craig Johnson should take note of this third installment of the Tommy Smith High Country Noir series ... Paul packs the plot with many threads that weave together nicely ... Several unexpected twists keep the plot moving along nicely, even when there are a little too-lengthy detours into the horse and camping business ... Bart Paul is an avid horseman and he includes details about the business Tommy runs in between the thrills. Sometimes too many details. Paul has never seen a tree he didn’t want to identify or a piece of horse tack he didn’t want to describe in detail. They aren’t just horses, they’re palominos and sorrels. He details saddle horns and bridles beyond what really helps the story, but this is a small quibble. Paul clearly knows his stuff and by the end, you will too. Many readers will like being deeply embedded in Tommy’s high mountain world ... for [a] mix of mystery and high mountain adventure, Bart Paul has a winning series that’s worth saddling up and taking the ride.
Readers will be transported by Paul’s easygoing prose as he lingers almost philosophically on the sparse but majestic landscape and the people who choose to make their living there. Sharing qualities with authors like Paul Doiron and C.J. Box, Paul delivers a Western-themed thriller that can easily be read as a stand-alone featuring characters as quiet and as deep as the mountains themselves.
In clean, spare prose, Paul spins a plot of understated but still startling violence, as Smith does what he must to protect his family and stay alive himself. The third entry in the Tommy Smith series is a fine western thriller with a tender heart.
... exciting ... Clean, elegant prose compensates for the thin mystery plot. Readers will welcome Paul’s comfortable world, with its loving relationship between Paul and his wife, appealing animals, and true friends.