By: Harvey Goodman
Publisher: Jupiter Sky Publishing
Publication Date: May 2012
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: June 7, 2012
In this exciting sequel to 2010's Along the Fortune Trail, author Harvey Goodman brings the reader back to the Old West, to see what Sammy Winds has been up to since he last rode into the sunset.
Sammy Winds, a handsome young man, has a bright future. With a savings of $50,000 (see the first book to learn where this money came from), he was able to buy the beautiful, twenty-thousand acre Sky W Ranch. He has a good, loyal crew; a woman who is deeply in love with him; and of course, something every cowboy needs; a dependable horse and Chester, his faithful dog. What Sammy doesn't need is trouble but he's about to get a boatload, or more accurately, a manure pile worth, in the guise of a land buyer, Rupert Crowder, and his ruthless group of no-good killers.
As the story opens, Lucius Hammond, one of Crowder's hired killers, rides into a small town and kills Clint Smith, a local farmer. Shortly afterwards, others of Crowder's gang head to Smith's home, killing those they find living there. Fortunately, Tomas Cordero, an ex-priest and his five adopted children, who live on the property, were a short distance away when the killing started and went unseen by Crowder's men. Padre, as he is known by his children and friends, flees with the children and stumbles upon Sammy's ranch. Sammy offers the group haven at Sky W Ranch and even gives them some land so Padre can build a small house for himself and his children.
When Sammy runs into two men who claim to be prospectors on his land, he confronts them and doesn't believe their story. Something seems "off" with the pair but Sammy isn't quite sure what it is. Adding to the drama, Sammy is approached by a man claiming to be from Westgate Railroad, a company that wants to buy Sammy's ranch. Could this man and the prospectors somehow be connected? Is the land really wanted for a railroad or are these people actually interested in something else, such as gold, emeralds, water, and other natural resources that might be on the land.
Events quickly spiral out of control, as Crowder and his men move in on Sammy and his family and friends. There is a lot of action, plenty of gunfights, numerous close encounters and nail-biting escapes. The dust flies and the bullets whiz by as Sammy does what he can to stop Crowder.
This story takes off quickly and doesn't slow till the last page. Sammy and the other main characters in Winds of Redemption are well-developed and believable. Of particular note, Padre and his small adopted band of five orphans take center stage as they try their best to help save the Sky W Ranch. For those who have not read the first book in this series, Along the Fortune Trail, you'll have no problem jumping into the saddle and catching up quickly with Sammy and his exploits. For readers who have read the first book, it will be a treat to once again visit with Sammy Winds and see what has happened since he received a handsome reward for killing a ruthless criminal. Some of the characters from the first book, Blaine, Margaret and Claire, make appearances which will be satisfying to those who read the first book and wondered what happened to these characters.
Quill says: If you like good, old-fashioned westerns with plenty of action, and a hero you can root for, check out Winds of Redemption, you won't be disappointed. If you've never read a western, this is a wonderful one to start with - try it and you just may be hooked on the genre.