Opening abruptly with the death of Grace Milton’s entire family at the hands of the Guiltless Gang, Erin Johnson weaves a tale of a gun-slinging, gritty western that hurtles the reader from the dusty streets of Tombstone where young Grace tries to find justice for her family’s death from the town Sheriff to the Ndeh tribe who comes to adopt her. When the U.S. Cavalry invades the Ndeh village, Grace puts her newfound skills to the test in order to save her adopted family. Instead of realizing that her new home is with the people she fought beside and grieved with, Grace’s heart only hardens more as she become determined to exact her revenge on the Guiltless Gang.
This is a well-written book with a near frenetic pace that only slows briefly. Grace is a strong-willed heroine, almost to a fault. There were times when Grace comes off as arrogant and juvenile, and her mantra of justice felt somewhat repetitive. However, Erin Johnson’s debut novel evolves Grace from a foolhardy innocent into a gritty, driven woman. I had planned to read this with my 9-year-old son, but I’m glad I hadn’t due to some fairly graphic violence. All in all, a nice start to what will become a series called Wanted.
This review originally appeared in Historical Novels Review Feb. 2016.