Reviews for City of Widows
Kirkus Reviews 1994 February
~ A somber, businesslike portrait of the 1880s American Southwest from the prolific Estleman (Whiskey River, 1990; etc.). Known to many as ``Satan's Sixgun,'' US Deputy Marshall Page Murdock is sent to New Mexico by Judge Harlan A. Blackthorne on the trail of the brothers Baronet--Frank, the corrupt but effective sheriff of Socorro county, and Ross, who is presumed dead. It seems that, in addition to running crooked games and robbing rivals, the Baronets also killed the man who saved the good judge's life during the Civil War. Murdock is the Fed likeliest to ``bring 'em back dead'' and thereby avoid messy trials. Frank, however, isn't one to go along peacefully, so Murdock must travel in the guise of a retired gunman turned part-owner of a saloon in nearby San Sabado- -or as the locals call it, Ciudad de Las Viudas, City of Widows. Subplots spring up like locoweed as Murdock discovers that his new partner is Colleen Bower, aka ``Poker Annie,'' a woman from out of his past. Further complicating matters is a robbery by a gang whose leader looks suspiciously like the late Ross. The stage is set for a showdown during which Murdock, naturally, learns a great deal about himself, Colleen, and Frank. Atmospheric and bleak, Estleman's story evokes the brutality and heat of the Southwest through the efficient actions and dialogue of its characters. Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal Reviews 1994 March #2
In an act of personal vengeance, Judge Harlan Blackthorne of Montana Territory sends deputy U.S. Marshal Page Murdock to San Sabado, New Mexico, to bring to justice murderers Ross and Frank Baronet. As a cover for his activities, Murdock, reprised from Estleman's The Stranglers (Doubleday, 1984), buys into a friend's saloon. His task is complicated by the fact that Ross is reputed to be dead in Mexico, and Frank is the sheriff of Socorro County, where Murdock's saloon is located. Estleman, famed as much for his crime novels (e.g., Motown, LJ 6/15/91) as he is for Westerns, has crafted an excellent tale with believable dialog and complex characters. His research is meticulous, and his writing wastes no words. Highly recommended for all public libraries.-- Robert Jordan, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1994 March #2
Page Murdock, the stalwart, peripatetic hero of Estleman's lean and lively western, is fed up with marshaling for a domineering federal judge in the Montana Territory. Aiming to settle down, he buys himself a half interest in a bar in San Sabado, New Mexico Territory. But things don't go smoothly for the erstwhile lawman. Almost immediately he runs afoul of Frank Baronet, the corrupt and scheming county sheriff who has more to hide than just nefarious business dealings and graft. To make matters worse, upon his arrival in San Sabado--called the City of Widows because, as a haven for banditos and revolutionaries near the Mexican border, its male population is regularly decimated--Murdock finds that his partner in the saloon has taken on yet another partner, diminishing Murdock's share to only a third. Then there's Baronet's brother, supposedly dead but still robbing banks with abandon. Estleman ( Bloody Season ) brews all these elements together into a potent mix, enlivened by some of the best dialogue in the business. He skillfully mingles reality-based characters (Gov. Lew Wallace of Ben Hur fame, and Pat Garrett) with such fictional creations as Poker Annie (a cardplaying expert modeled on the real-life Poker Alice). As readers have come to expect of this veteran writer, he also displays an eye for detail and gift of description that transcends the genre. (Apr.) Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.