This episode of the Marshal Shorty Thompson series is Killing of Outlaws.
In this wild story, the father of Betty Sue Gains is killed by the outlaw Bob Eaves and his gang of marauders and killers. Some mysterious and unknown person or persons are behind this killing and others, as Eaves and his men attempt to drive all the farmers out of the Mesilla Valley in New Mexico and Texas. The man wants all the land to plant cotton.
Betty Sue, a 14-15-year-old, is upset, to put it mildly, that her father was killed. She is going to kill every one of those marauders and outlaws so they can't do more harm to anyone. She needs to find out who is behind it and go get him or them, too. She checks in with the local sheriff in Mesilla and they work together to find out the bigwigs behind all the killing. In no short order, the outlaws start losing men and they can't figure out who the shooter is, thinking it may be a bounty hunter collecting the rewards on all the bad ones.
Sheriff Cole soon sends for Shorty for help. Betty Sue moves in with her friend's family (the Carters) now that she is home alone. She and Jody, the friend and teen-aged boy, spend time together and are familiar with each other, having grown up as close neighbors. Jody helps her out as much as he can, but doesn't really know what she is up to and can't connect the dead men with her. Shorty gets into Mesilla and learns what the situation is and thinks Betty Sue is in the way, always hanging around the sheriff and him.
She makes trips to Las Cruces to see the sheriff and hears about a gent named Glassman. She thinks Glassman is running the outlaws and soon shoots him and several of his men and the sheriff of Las Cruces. Glassman and the sheriff are only wounded.
As Shorty and the law begin to close in on the "big" man, named Jordan, Betty Sue has wiped out the Eaves gang. Glassman goes to El Paso to heal up and hire more gunmen. A trap is set for the new men and Glassman and Jordan as the story begins to wind down.
This is an action-packed novel that kept me interested all the way to the end and that, too. The only thing that I didn't like about it was the misspellings and not paying close attention to the narrative (missing/adding words,etc.). The cowboy dialect was used off and on throughout, which covered over some mistakes and POV was not always clear. Overall, I enjoyed the story that had me on edge throughout to see what happens next. I give it four stars and will read more of the Shorty Thompson books as time allows.