Warning: This review contains spoilers for “Longarm And The Diamondback Widow” by Tabor Evans. If you don’t want spoilers, avoid reading the rest of this review!
I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Longarm And The Diamondback Widow” by Tabor Evans! Interestingly enough, Tabor Evans is not an individual person. In fact, upon doing further research on this author, the name “Tabor Evans” is a house pseudonym used by numberous authors. Lou Cameron helped create the character and wrote a number of the early books in the series, which is 436 books long. “Longarm And The Diamondback Widow” is the 417th book in the series, and given that I haven’t read any of the books in this series until I picked up this one, I will keep that in mind when rating this. Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
Sheriff Des Rainey was a good lawman, just doing his job, returning from a ranch left in charred ruins after giving the murdered corpses left behind a decent burial. But someone got the drop on him as he was stepping into his own jailhouse—and a shotgun blast blew him clear back out into the muddy main street of Diamondback.
Rainey was a good friend of Marshal Billy Vail. They’d served as Texas Rangers together. So Billy sent his best deputy marshal to find the killer who made Mrs. Rainey a widow. But when Longarm rides into Diamondback, no one’s talking—except the young, beautiful widow herself, who will do anything to get Longarm to find her husband’s killer… “
Plot Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars
In terms of overall plotline, I felt that it was slow until after at least five chapters in. This is mainly because the first chapter is spent on the last moments of the murder victim in this book, while the next four focus on Longarm’s encounters with various people (one that only appears for a major sex scene and then isn’t mentioned much again until the last chapter) as he makes his way into Diamondback. However, the rest of the story onwards had much better pacing and overall made sense. The cliffhanger ending actually made me want to pick up the next book immediately (though I did not have it on hand as of writing this review).
There are two major sex scenes in the story, and though they are rather explicit, they are quite surprisingly well-written. There was no confusion of whose limbs were where, and the two scenes actually do carry plot significance later on in the story (though for what reasons, I won’t say here because that leads to major spoilers, especially with the last chapter). There is no actual romance in the book (the context of both sex scenes were in “hook-up”-esque settings), but it was interesting to see how they both led to more major plot developments.
Worldbuilding Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Character Development: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I thought the worldbuilding of Diamondback as a town was not the most developed, overall. There was a sense of the town being a town, with its mayor and so on, but I felt a distinct lack of community or sense of how everyone’s roles in town played out and affected each other overall. I believe this may be due to the focus on the mystery and those few people involved, but if there are any future books that take place in Diamondback in this series, I would be interested in reading more about how the town functions as a whole.
As for characters, I enjoyed reading Longarm as the main character, as well as reading Mrs. Rainey. I was surprised at the plot twist that Mrs. Rainey actually killed her own husband, though her motivations for doing so made a lot of sense once the reveal of her as the killer came to light. Longarm himself clearly can hold his own in a fight, given how he’s written to do well in most combat scenes in this book (which makes sense, given how he’s lasted for over four-hundred books at this point), but he is not without some personality, either. I would like to see more on how deaths like Mr. Rainey’s death might affect him, especially given that Mr. Raineyw as a lawman much like Longarm is, but perhaps that development will come in later books with other characters.
Overall, I’m rating this book 3.5 out of 5 stars!
It’s a promising start, and I might pick up other books in this series to read, likely from the 418th book onwards. If you’re interested in a decent plot with some actually well-written sex scenes that help with said plot, you might be interested in this one.
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