The second book of The Devil’s Revolver series by V.S. McGrath, starts with a whimper more than a bang. That’s probably only to be expected when you’re running in circles through the desert trying to shake any and all pursuers. The desert is not just a good place to hide outlaws like Hettie, it’s also well-suited to disguising foreshadowing as something less significant. And there are always oasis and rocky outcroppings providing temporary havens.
Most of the action in The Deveil’s Standoff takes place in just such a refuge. Villa del Punta is much more than just a refuge, however. It’s Walker’s past, Hettie’s present and…well, we’ll just have to wait and see whose future it turns out to be. There’s a lot going on here, much of it beneath the surface and all tied up with family, magic and expectations. Love plays a big role in this book, but not always the way it should. As for happy endings…it is a middle book. Nothing much get resolved and stays resolved, which keeps things interesting even though it’s not totally satisfying for the reader.
The continuing adventures of Hettie Alabama and her magic gun are definitely worth following. The Devil’s Standoff isn’t as fast reading or engrossing as The Devil’s Revolver but it is still a good story, well worth your time. Despite the setting, this book feels more like a dusty fantasy or alternative science fiction story than western, as even the titular revolver is trasformed. this isn’t just more of the same although there are enough similarities that the story won’t quite stand on it’s own. Readers are definitely left wondering what will happen next.