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Publisher's Summary

Johnstone Country: The good die young. The bad die younger.

From the best-selling masters of Western fiction comes two tough frontier detectives who solve the bloodiest crimes with bravado, brains, and bullets blazing....

Homicide on the range

A killer is on the loose in the Arizona Territory. One by one, Tonto Basin ranchers are being murdered for their livestock - and the Cattle Raisers' Association has hired two range detectives to catch the culprit.

From the looks of them, Stovepipe Stewart and Wilbur Coleman are just another pair of high-plains drifters. But with their razor-sharp detective skills and rare talent for trouble, they're the last remaining hope for one young cowboy who's been arrested for the murders. Stovepipe and Wilbur believe the boy is innocent.

In short order, the trail of clues leads to a secret canyon hideout, and the duo find themselves in the middle of an all-out range war - with the dirtiest gang of cutthroats, thieves, and outlaws the West has ever known....

There's just one mystery left to solve: How will they get out of this alive?

©2016 by J. A. Johnstone (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Range Detectives

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Narration wasn’t great

The story wasn’t bad but I didn’t care much for the narrator. His reading of Stovepipe sounded like a bad John Wayne impression, while he made the character of Wilbur sound like a stammering fool.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Overpriced

This is overpriced even though it was free. Really bad. Childish if anything. Two words.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A bit dated in story line

This reminds me of the 50s and 60s television westerns and movies. Quite predictable twists and turns. Some fairly corny dialogue which is intended to be amusing.

Overall quite refreshing at a time when so many people are taking television shows, movies and books so seriously.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

ADDICTING! Don't start unless...

Such a compelling, CLEAN READ. No language - I could let my kids listen to it in the car! Great seeing and the narrator is FABULOUS!!

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Whodunit Western At Its Best! McLain Is Wonderful!

This was my 1st Johnstone family novel and I'm hooked. McLain's narration is wonderful too.

An incredible Whodunit that starts off on horseback and rides fast for the whole journey. The foreshadowing was fun, and I enjoyed every minute of the unfolding murder mystery. I could almost taste the food described when they sat down for a feed and all but felt the poke of the inhospitable cacti in the Arizona Territory.

Stovepipe and Wilbur are excellent characters that remind me of the Sherlock and Watson of the Wild West. If you like mysteries and westerns, look no farther, The Range Detectives is a great Book 1 to a series I am sure I will enjoy. Pay attention, a thread of evidence can change everything.

Highly recommended! Five Stars!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Long and juvenile

The story drones on...and on...and on. I suppose it would be ok for a young kid, maybe 12 or so. The narrator voicing of the main characters became annoying pretty quick. I jumped forward 7 or 8 chapters at a time and didn't feel as if I'd missed anything. To the contrary, it seemed the story hadn't moved on at all!

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Romantic conflict right off the bat?

Doesn’t matter where are you set a book like this the storylines always the same old man married young girl jealous of younger men that she finds attractive this is ridiculous I couldn’t even get through the first chapter

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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great book

I've always liked the books by this author and they are like movies in your mind.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Western Cliche'

This book had enough Western cliche's to make Hopalong Cassidy blush! It was more contrived than the average 1930s Hollywood B movies. I listed to the whole thing out of morbid curiosity. I couldn't believe it was recently written and actually published. It could make Louis L'amour wince. I read one other William Johnstone novel and it was similar but not quite as pathetic. There were pole cats, dry gulchers, varmits, a humorous side kick, posses, and our super hero "Stove Pipe"! Yikes!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Story is kind of okay....dialogue is horrible

This is the second book I've read by this author. The first was questionable, but I struggled getting through this one and won't be getting any more of his books.

I chose these books based on the reviews, but maybe the folks drawn to these books are more easily pleased than I am. I'd just finished a number of books by Micheal McGarrity dealing with the same time frames and found them quite enjoyable, so that prompted me to try this author. But the problems fall into two broad categories.

1. This book is a mystery set in the old west. As was the previous book I'd read by this author his logic and description of what motivated the crime was very weak and incomplete. As is the case with almost all bad western, the hero generally escapes with flesh wounds while his enemies are all killed with perfectly placed shots.

2. The dialogue is the biggest problem with this author, "pard". All the references to "hosses", "skalywags", etc. had me convinced I was listening to the dialogue from a very bad 1960's television western (although some of them were much more passable than this). More likely it mirrors the dialogue in the children's cowboy shows of the era. But anyone over the age of 8 is going to be very disappointed in how unrealistic, stilted, and embarrassing the dialogue is. And how dependent on these bad dialogues are in moving the store forward. That's useful for an audience of 8 year olds, but not so much for adults.

1 person found this helpful