Oct 242014
 
(This post originally appeared in different form on April 25, 2005) By 1957, when this novel was originally published, Walt Coburn’s once-formidable talent had deteriorated due to age and drink until his output was very hit-and-miss. THE NIGHT BRANDERS, from the same era, is the worst Coburn novel I’ve read. But he was still capable of turning out a good story sometimes, and luckily, THE
Oct 172014
 
(This post originally appeared in somewhat different form on August 7, 2005) I’ve had two copies of this novel, the original paperback edition and a later edition, on my shelves for years, long enough that I don’t remember where or when I got them. This is a good hardboiled novel about Philadelphia private eye Bill Canalli, who goes to visit a girl in Chicago and winds up in the middle of a
Oct 102014
 
(This post originally appeared in somewhat different form on January 21, 2006) I’m on record as preferring Elmore Leonard’s early Westerns to his later crime novels, and LAST STAND AT SABER RIVER is a good reason why I feel that way. The set-up is fairly traditional: a former Confederate soldier returns home to Arizona Territory after being wounded and finds that Union sympathizers have taken
Oct 032014
 
(This post originally appeared in somewhat different form on September 9, 2005.) I first heard of Kinky Friedman back in the early Seventies, when my good friend Leland DeBusk got interested in the whole Cosmic Cowboy music scene in Austin. After that I was aware that the Kinkster started writing mystery novels, but I never read any of them. (I own several, though, and really need to get
Sep 262014
 
(This post originally appeared on September 7, 2006, in somewhat different form.) This is one of Ed Gorman’s earlier Westerns, originally published by Walker in 1992 under the pseudonym Christopher Keegan, then reprinted in paperback by Leisure in 1999 under Gorman’s name. But even if I had read the original edition without knowing who the author really was, I think I would have suspected
Sep 192014
 
(This post originally appeared on August 20, 2007) I’ve been a fan of Bill Pronzini’s work ever since I read his Man From U.N.C.L.E. novella “The Pillars of Salt Affair” in the MFU digest magazine sometime in the late Sixties. Of course, I didn’t know at the time that Pronzini had written that story. It was published under the house-name Robert Hart Davis, a tribute by publisher Leo Margulies
Sep 122014
 
I don't remember seeing this horror novel when it came out from Jove in 1989, and Robert Masello's name is only vaguely familiar to me. But BLACK HORIZON turns out to be a pretty entertaining psychological horror yarn. Jack Logan is a musician who plays in the orchestra for a newly opened Broadway show. It's opening night, in fact, when Jack saves the life of an old man who's been hit by a
Sep 052014
 
Clifton Adams wrote quite a bit of Western fiction about the oil boom in Oklahoma Territory in the early Twentieth Century, and his novel BOOMER, published by Perma Books in 1957 under the pseudonym Clay Randall, is a prime example of that. Joe Grant (an alias) is on the run from the law after robbing a bank in Missouri. He's not a hardened owlhoot but rather a farmer who was cheated out of
Aug 292014
 
When Joe Lansdale mentioned on Facebook that an e-book edition of this collection was available, I knew I had to get it. My copy of the original edition is gone, and I wanted to read the introductions by Joe and Lew Shiner again. They're the best part of this book for me. Not that the stories themselves aren't very good. They are. Some of my favorites, in fact. PRIVATE EYE ACTION AS YOU LIKE
Aug 152014
 
Whenever I get the urge to read a Western by Bob Randisi, there are certainly plenty to choose from. You don't hear much about this one because it's a stand-alone instead of a book from one of his many series, but it's also one of his best novels. The Money Gun is Faulkner, and he's a hired gun who specializes in killing bad men the law can't touch for one reason or another. His only friend