Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Arizona Outlaw

by Bayne Hobart
Five Star, 1973
reprint of a 1961 Arcadia House publication.

Lance Harvey arrives in Elkhorn in time to become innocently involved in a bank robbery and the shooting of the sheriff. Now a wanted man Harvey vows to track the real killers down. Finding himself in the town of Black Rock, Harvey lands slap-bang in the middle of some mysterious killings being carried out by a gunman calling himself The Avenger. There’s also digging sounds from the cellar of the hotel in the dead of night - only the hotel doesn’t have a cellar! How is the gambler owner of the saloon involved? Is the barman one of the killers from Elkhorn?

A book that in some places seems a little dated, which it is, due to how bad language is handled, for instance: ‘ “You can’t trust this sneaking---” The last word was a crude reflection on Harvey’s mother.’

The story keeps adding twists and new questions as it moves at a swift pace to its conclusion where all is answered, no threads left undone, red herrings explained.

A shame that there is a glaring mistake, that of a man being listed as dead quite awhile before he’s killed. Even so, this mistake didn’t spoil my enjoyment of this book or put me off wanting to read more of Hobart’s work. A fun read.

Get a copy here.

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