The Legend of Deputy Jim: The Last Enemy Series Prequel by Dan E. Hendrickson takes us back in time to 1974, in small town Wyoming, Sheridan to be exact where a young, recently married and father of one, Jim Edwards is about to embark on his chosen career, as a Sherriff’s Deputy in the small town. Wyoming and other states in the region were prey to roving, violent, criminal biker gangs in the early 70’s, hell-bent on destruction and the establishment of drug-making and smuggling operations from both Mexico and for the infamous Medellin Cartel from Colombia. It is into this volatile world that the father of the “Hero of Cozumel”, Jacob Edwards, walks. Little was known of Jim’s two years with the Sheridan Sherriff’s Department and Tommy Williams, the ex-Navy Seal member who led Jim on their rescue of his son Jacob and his family, from captivity in Central America, decides it is time for him to discover Jim’s shrouded past and to tell the world that this now 70-something-year-old, was once just as much a hero as his much celebrated son. Jim’s new job with the Sherriff’s Department starts with a confrontation and physical beating of one of the biker gang’s most feared Lieutenant’s, an ex-special forces operative who goes by the moniker of Grinder. It’s personal now for Grinder as he and the gang plan to murder Jim, rape his wife, Linda, and then kill her and his son. One thing the gang needs to learn is; you don’t threaten Jim Edwards’ family and walk away scot-free.
If you haven’t read any of the Last Enemy Series, by Dan E. Hendrickson (I have read all three), it really doesn’t matter when it comes to enjoying this action-packed journey into a time so many of us remember, the 70’s. In The Legend of Deputy Jim, Hendrickson does an excellent job at dropping into the narrative important little bits of information to allow any reader, who hasn’t read the trilogy, context to allow them to make sense of the story. Bikie gangs, their violence and the fear they instilled in communities all over the U.S. just by their mere appearance, is the stuff of legends and this story is one that will resonate with many who lived through that period. I’ve read all four of Hendrikson’s books now and have watched the author develop and grow as a writer. This story is well-written and flows beautifully. The action is non-stop and makes it very difficult for the reader to want to put the book down. The character of Jim was well drawn and although clearly a brave and heroic figure, we are also privy to the weaknesses he carries that will ultimately lead him to abandon what had all the promises of being a stellar career in law enforcement. I particularly enjoyed the sweet synchronicities between the stories of Jim and his son, Jacob, which I won’t reveal any of, to keep the plot intact but needless to say, they tied this prequel, together with the Last Enemy Trilogy, beautifully. This is a fantastic read from an author who has much to offer in this action genre. I genuinely look forward to his next offer with excitement.