Lori Handeland, writing as Austin, begins the Once Upon a Time in the West series with a bang — immediately engaging readers in the fast-paced plot. It’s not just the action but the tenderness and emotion, the tension and redemption that work so well in the gritty western setting Austin creates. Readers will look forward to more reinvented fairy tales.

Cathleen Chase wouldn’t hurt a fly, but as bounty hunter Cat O’Banyon she would kill a wanted man with ease. She won’t rest until she nabs the man who killed her husband. Then, her old friend and mentor con artist Alexi Romanov catches up with her. There’s no way Cat will trust him, or place her heart and the killer in his hands. But he has frightening news: Her enemy has placed a bounty on her head. Cat and Alexi join forces to deliver the bounty and give her the opportunity for revenge. Their journey is fraught with peril and deeply passionate moments, and Cat realizes she’s falling in love. She must take a risk and trust Alexi, or lose everything she’s worked for. (SIGNET ECLIPSE, Oct., 336 pp., $7.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin