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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold by Raymond Cook is a novel with a powerful appeal to fans of Westerns, a story that follows a vendetta between two families, Jess and Heather Euland, and Frank Baker and his four sons. The story is set against the backdrop of Marble, Colorado in the 1890s. Frank Baker lives with his four sons — Jasper, Seth, Gerald, and Bryant — and has repeatedly offered his neighbor, Jess, money if he could water his cattle at the lake on Jess's land, but Jess has consistently refused; he doesn't like the Bakers. Then, one morning, Frank and his sons shoot Jess and his wife, Heather outside Campbell’s General Store and ride away. Jess dies while his wife, is grievously wounded. It takes months for her to recover and, once she does, she makes the decision to hunt her husband's killers. But first she must learn to shoot. The narrative follows her journey as she learns from a gunslinger and moves out to pursue her husband’s killers. But does she have what it takes to bring them down?
Raymond Cook has crafted a story that is filled with emotion and adventure, a narrative with Western themes. The characters are well developed and I enjoyed the way they are connected to the setting and the world they evolve in. While the protagonist is driven by a deep sense of revenge, readers find her actions justifiable and want to see what becomes of her at the end of the story. The conflict is powerful and it is introduced early in the narrative. Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold has a dynamic setting. It is filled with action. The pacing is fast and the character developmental arc is beautifully handled. I enjoyed how Heather quickly transforms herself from a docile woman into a gunslinger. I also enjoyed the fact that the protagonist is a woman and seeing her evolve in a predominantly men's world is exhilarating. She is your perfect image of a cowgirl. An exciting novel, indeed.