Texas Vigilante is Bill Crider’s sequel to his rousing western novel Outrage at Blanco. What makes both of the novels unusual is not that they feature a fearless gunfighter or villains so nasty that they would make a Jack Palance movie character turn and run for his life. No, what makes Outrage at Blanco and Texas Vigilante special is that the gunfighter they feature is a woman – a woman who has had all she can take and who is now willing to take the law into her own hands when and as necessary. Ellie Traine has a gun and she is not afraid to use it.
Ellie is working hard to make a go of the small ranch she inherited at the close of Outrage at Blanco. Reconciled to widowhood, she has carved out a new life for herself in the little Texas town in which her husband was so brutally murdered just months earlier. With the help of hired hands, including a young couple and their little girl, the ranch, while not exactly thriving, is doing well enough to provide Ellie with both a home and a purpose in life.
But, as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. Ellie is about to learn that the young couple working for her knocked on her door for a good reason. Lane Tolbert is desperately trying to hide his family from his brother-in-law, and Ellie’s little ranch in the middle of nowhere seems like as good a place as any to do that. His wife’s brother is a violent prison inmate who believes that his sister turned him in to authorities. He has vowed revenge, and because Lane knows very well that the man is capable of anything, he fears that his brother-in-law will slaughter them all.
And now, in a bloodbath that claims the lives of several prison guards, Angel has escaped and he’s looking for Lane, Sue, and especially for their little girl. He has big plans for the family and he knows exactly how to hurt them the most. Once again, the only thing standing between pure evilness and those incapable of taking care of themselves alone is a woman called Ellie. And Ellie Traine is not going to back down – now or ever again.
To say only that Texas Vigilante is a violent, action packed western novel would not do it credit because it is much more than that. Bill Crider has created a memorable character in Ellie Traine, and it’s kind of a shame that there is not a third Ellie Traine western. Read this one, western fans, because Ellie Traine is a hoot.