How does a gunfighter retire? Tom Bolt is convinced that his only escape will be death, especially now that novelist Philo Gordon has practically immortalized him in a series of popular dime novels. When the town of Glory, Kansas, recruits Tome to be their new marshal, he accepts on one condition -that they put him up in a "real" home.

Zena Briggs has no desire to provide room and board for a gunman, since her husband was killed by one, but the banker holds her mortgage and she has no choice. Into Zena's immaculate and empty home comes a man dressed in black and wrapped in an isolation so deep that he refuses to name his dog for fear he'll lose something else he treasures.

Tom soon discovers that his real job is to attract gunfighters and publicity to Glory in order to revive the dying town. When Zena learns of the tragedy that initially drove Tom to become a hired gun, she opens her heart to him like a fragile butterfly leaving its cocoon. Stunned at what he is offered, Tom realizes that everything he could desire is before him if he can escape the life of the gun.

Ms. McBride has combined a moving story with deep and believable characters. THE GUNSLINGER is a treasure not to be missed! SENSUAL (FEB., 322 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Cindy Royce