Renegade’s Revenge is WWII and pulp-action/adventure novelist Jack Badelaire’s debut into the western genre.
It’s a short novella, topping off at about 20,000 words and was originally meant to be part of a Double’s via Piccadilly Publishing. Glory Dust by Robert Vaughn (pen name T.K. Jack) wrote the first story and Jack wrote a sequel to it. Alas, that project never took off leaving both authors with stories without homes. It seems like Vaughn hasn’t found a home for Glory Dust yet but Jack self-published his half of the Doubles project in the early summer.
Renegade’s Revenge follows David Miller after the Civil War has ended as they mop up what’s left of the Rebels and bushwackers. His unit is led by the cruel and bloodthirsty Captain McNeil. After a skirmish in which Miller’s unit takes heavy casualties, they capture a band of bushwackers. And to Miller’s surprise, he finds his twin brother, Caleb, among the Rebels captured. But McNeil has no interest in giving quarter and orders the execution of every captured Rebel on sight. Miller faints at the sight of his brother being cut down by gunfire and soon gets discharged from the army. He goes home, a lost soul, and runs into his older brother Paul who was there with the bushwackers the day of their brother’s death, but was able to escape during the initial fighting. The two brothers vow to seek revenge on McNeil and others involved in the ghastly murder of Caleb.
Per usual for a Jack Badelaire story, it’s full of bloody action written in spectacular detail. And his knowledge and love for firearms shows through in both the brand/make of the guns the characters use as well as how they’re used. Gun enthusiasts and historical weaponry buffs will appreciate that level of detail in this western novella. There’s no real twists or turns in this story. It pretty much travels the road you expect a revenge-fueled western story to go. However, the climatic scene at the end was a little surprising in terms of the weapons chosen. I won’t spoil what, but folks who know me will understand when I say I was smiling during that final fight.
Overall, this was a solid, well written story. And a quick read, perfect for those looking for something easily digestible in a single sitting. If you’re a fan of bloody westerns or a fan of Badelaire himself, you’ll enjoy Renegade’s Revenge.