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,
Jan 162015
I felt like reading an Orrie Hitt novel since it had been a while, and I picked a really good one in THE SUCKER. It's written to the usual Hitt formula, but also as usual, he finds ways to change things up enough to keep the story fresh and interesting. I thought this was going to be a car racing book at first—some of the back-story concerns how one of the female characters winds up in
Jan 092015
I have to admire Murray Leinster. He was writing science fiction before the term existed. But he also wrote mystery, adventure, and Western yarns for the pulps. He wrote movie novelizations. Late in his career he wrote TV tie-in paperback novels. He wrote a little bit of everything for more than fifty years and did it well. He's remembered mostly for his science fiction, though, and
Jan 022015
For my first Forgotten Book of the new year, we've got another old favorite author of mine whose work I've been reading since high school. Frank Kane has come in for a good deal of criticism over the years because of the formulaic nature of his books and his tendency to cannibalize his earlier work, but for some reason his private eye yarns nearly always resonate well with me. They're
Dec 262014
We wrap up the Forgotten Books series for another year with an old favorite of mine, an author I've been reading for close to 50 years. In the early Sixties, when I was volunteering in the local public library, I came across some Western paperbacks that looked interesting in a batch of books somebody had donated. They were about a Texas Ranger named Walt Slade, and they were written by an