Djones Messier Part 2 The Bounty Hunters.
There is a central conceit in here, around which much of the story turns, it walks or it falls: the Territorial Adjutant of Arizona is a coward - he cannot withstand immediate physical danger - and he is a more or less pathological paranoiac. Note the two things are separate; it is not to be assumed that one necessarily follows from the other. Now; the cowardice is uncontroversial. There are many well-documented instances or senior military officials unable to withstand immediate physical danger. No, the conceit is the paranoia; how a leader of men could have a successful career spanning 20 years with a personality disorder.
It might be thought that this is picky - criticism for its own sake - but that isn’t the point. We all know what a useless concept realism is; everyone has their own version of it. The good writer makes plausible impossibilites, as Aristotle had it (Some guy I met in a poolroom once. You wouldn’t know him). What we have here is the fiction unfolded, turned around, turned over, showing its mechanism. We’re caught up in the story, we’ve been told that this isn’t the time for analysis, asking the how or the why. You have to see clearly, evaluate what you see, & act, act immediately. And while you’re looking, squinting to see what it is that’s moving out in the darkness, your life depends on it, & Elmore inserts - this is the mechanism - the how & the why, the Colonel’s paranoia. The story doesn’t break stride.
Before reading The Bounty Hunters I thought Red Bowers was a Detroit suburb. Think about it.