Mar 272015
I've become a big fan of Charles Boeckman's Western pulp stories over the past couple of years, but WHEN THE DEVIL CAME TO ENDLESS is the first Western novel of his that I've read. Published by Avalon in 1996, it came out long after the pulp era was over, but it shows that Boeckman had lost none of his top-notch storytelling ability. Endless is a small town in West Texas, and as the book
Mar 202015
Bill Crider posted the cover of this novel on his blog a while back, and the title intrigued me with its air of early Sixties sleaziness. I was surprised to discover that there's an e-book version available on Amazon, but when I did, of course I had to read it. It starts out with a scenario that's actually reminiscent of the work of Cornell Woolrich. Joe Guthrie is an American GI stationed
Mar 132015
This Ace Double Western from 1963 gets off to a fast start with a brutal whipping in the main street of a settlement called Rocky Pass. That violence is interrupted by the protagonist, rancher Rick Dalton, and his interference deepens the conflict between him and the crew of gun-wolves working for the local cattle baron, Matt Iberg. Rick doesn't like the way Iberg is trying to run off the
Mar 062015
I don't know if this massive anthology is actually forgotten, but it's been out for almost four years now and I haven't mentioned it lately. Not only that, but it's on sale for a limited time for only 99 cents, and you can't beat that price. At approximately 120,000 words, I'm pretty sure THE TRADITIONAL WEST is the biggest anthology of original Western fiction ever published. Several stories
Feb 272015
This graphic novel came out in 2013, but I'd never heard of it until I came across a copy at Half Price Books and was intrigued by the look of it. It reminded me a lot of some of the adventure novels I read as a kid, books that were called juveniles then. I don't know what they're called now. Judging by the acknowledgments, it was a Kickstarter project. It certainly reads like a labor of
Feb 202015
I hadn't intended to read the other side of that Ace Double Western from last week quite so soon, but that's the way things worked out. And that's fine because LAST CHANCE AT DEVIL'S CANYON is a pretty entertaining novel. The title is sort of a pun, because the protagonist is former boxer turned gunfighter Dave Chance, who was known as "Last" Chance during his pugilist days. But he was
Feb 132015
As this 1959 Ace Double Western opens, seventeen-year-old Thorp Barrett is already a member of the outlaw gang led by his brother Travis. When the gang is trapped by a posse led by U.S. Marshal Doug Scott, Thorp winds up as the only survivor, thanks to his brother who gives up his life to help Thorp escape. Thorp goes on the run, flees across the Rio Grande into Mexico, and vows to turn
Feb 062015
I've had a lot of favorite books over the years, but this was my first favorite book, the one I bugged my parents to read to me over and over and then read repeatedly myself once I knew how. It's the story of a dog named Scuppers who has a boat and sails all over the world. He gets shipwrecked, has to survive on a desert island, eventually rebuilds his boat, and visits some exotic foreign
Jan 302015
I hadn't read a Shadow novel in quite a while and was in the mood for one, so I picked a story that I'd heard was pretty good, THE MAN FROM SCOTLAND YARD, which appeared in the August 1, 1935 issue of THE SHADOW. It turned out to be a decent choice, but before I talk about that, I'm going to wallow a bit in nostalgia. Consider yourself warned. I have a long history with The Shadow. I
Jan 232015
This book begins by dropping us right in the middle of the problems faced by rancher Clay Tennant. Clay's brother Frank has inherited the family ranch following their father's death, leaving Clay with only a single section of land where he's trying to build up a herd. Naturally, this results in a lot of friction between the brothers. On the side, Clay works for Parr Battles and Ed Blount,