The fifth in the "Valediction for Revenge" series finds Jethro Spring still on the run from a false charge of murder, in the valley of Stinkingwater River, where he files a homestead claim on a remote piece of land claimed by a greedy and powerful rancher. Jethro only wants to build his cabin and live quietly in peace; he doesn't want a confrontation with Ellis Burroughs. On the other hand, Jethro has no intention of being run off his land. His example leads other homesteaders to resist Burroughs, risking their lives to do so. Jethro partners with and old mountain man, Sam Buttercut, who knew Jethro's father and aims to help the son in his fight to keep his homestead. Lillian Mathers, the fiancee of Ellis Burroughs, and her father, Angus, join with Jethro and Sam to defeat the domineering rancher. Much of the book is narrated by Sam Buttercut, one of Cheek's most likeable and humorous characters, and it is Sam who passes judgment on Jethro's last action against Burroughs. In terms of the ending, Crisis On the Stinking water is Cheek's darkest book. It is also the most realistic. The portrayal of the depth of hatred engendered by the bitter conflict between rancher and homesteader chills the reader, as does the character of Levi Bunting, (the rancher's) foreman. A villain so evil as Bunting is not often realistic, but seems made out of cardboard and painted black. Cheek avoids that trap. As black as Bunting's character is, he is still believable. All in all, Cheek has written another Western that is filled with suspense and unexpected consequences. --Roundup Magazine
About the Author
No, Roland Cheek hasn't been in a gunfight at the O.K. Corral or punched dogies down the streets of Abilene. But he has straddled rawboned ponies over 35 thousand miles of the toughest trails in all the Northern Rockies and spent five decades wandering the wild country throughout the West. Now, after crafting six prior non-fiction books, hundreds of magazine articles, and thousands of newspaper columns about his adventures, the guy has at last turned his talent to Western novels, tales from the heart, dripping with realism, and based in part on a plethora of his own experiences.