Friday, 18 July 2008

Spur #37

as by Dirk Fletcher
Leisure, October 1992

Saddle sore and bone tired, Spur McCoy returned to St. Louis, Missouri, hoping to get reacquainted with some lady friends whilst waiting for his next mission. His plans are interrupted, however, when a master forger started spreading enough funny money to dam up the mighty Mississippi. And if that isn’t enough, Spur is assigned a partner…

Dirk Fletcher (author Chester Cunningham) comes up with a fine read here. The book has a fast pace, tough action, rousing encounters with beautiful women - after all Spur is an adult series - and a great bad guy, one who Spur has difficulty in tracking down.

Giving Spur a partner makes for a different angle to the series although Spur’s reluctance to work with someone else and the outcome of this doesn’t offer any surprises. The final chase sequence is the highlight of the book.

Cunningham rarely offers any mystery in his plots and his stories are told from the view points of heroes and villains alike, so the reader is always aware of what is going on, and why, but this method doesn’t detract from what is a quick, entertaining read.

One of the better entries into the Spur series.


IH said...

I love the Spur books - great reads, lots of good action, great character is Spur, and exciting lovemaking scenes. I've always been a huge fan since my early teens (now in my early 30s). I also really enjoy the Lone Star series, Gunsmith series, Canyon O'Grady, Trailsman, and books written by Dallas Todd.

IH said...

Oh, thanks for the great site - lots of books I will be looking our for in second hand book stores

Steve M said...

Glad you like the site - lots of reviews, of the series you've listed, can be found on here already and more are coming soon.

IH said...

I have always been fascinated by two facets of the character of Spur McCoy.

Firstly, he is one of the wittiest and intelligently-written adult Western characters - quite thoughtful, and clever. He is certainly not written as a stereotype. Obviously, some books in the series are better than others, but by and large, he is always smart and refined. The writing is sometimes exceptionally clever. His quips often bring a smile – sometimes I re-read a line and think ‘gosh, that is very clever’. They don’t leap out at you. They are written with quite a degree of sophistication.

The second thing I’ve always wondered about is the physicality, and physical description, of the man, both in the writing and the original imagery used on the covers.

Spur is always described as a tall solid strong man. This is to be expected, obviously - no one would believe the hero in adult Westerns as anything other!

But I have always wondered about the description of him as having reddish hair, with big mutton chop sideburns, a thick red mustache and a mat of red hair on his chest. The female characters always find him incredibly attractive and compelling, and he certainly has no problem bedding lady after lady – even though he is a ginger! And the images on the original covers show him as such, often in a passionate embrace with a lady!

Obviously the books are written by men, and they are writing stories which have certain expectations attached to them, but a hero who does not fit the type of tall and dark, who is tall but most certainly ginger – I’ve always found it intriguing. I think that’s why I enjoy them so much – the hero does not meet all the standard expectations.

I apologise for such a long posting, but these two aspects of the books have always interested me. Once again, thanks for a brilliant site.

Steve M said...

Looking forward to more of your views on the reviews - and characters.

Canyon O'Grady was another red-headed hero wasn't he?

IH said...

Yes he was! I had completely forgotten about this! Ironic, as I have also left a comment on your site about a Canyon O'Grady book. I have a Canyon O'Grady novel where he is described as having scarlet hair - so yes, a definite red head.

Perhaps the tall dark stranger in the wild West was a bit of myth...?

Steve M said...

Perhaps it was a myth but one I'm happy to read about :)

I've been racking my brains for other red-headed western heroes in series books but can't come up with any off the top of my head - maybe on of Quinn's Raiders was? I'm sure there must be some, I have books from something like 270 different series, surely they all can't be dark haired or blonde?

IH said...

Yes you're right - some of Marcus Quinn's gang were not dark haired. Quinn himself was blond, and Billy Joe Higgins is described in 'Quinn's Raiders: Blood Money' as being "six feet five, well over 200 pounds, sporting long, red hair and a mountain man's beard to match" (p14). So there's someone else who is red haired.

I realise that this is an odd thread to have on your blog, but I've just always been fascinated by how the heroes are described in Westerns. Their physical descriptions, I feel, are as important as their actions, as they all add up to how we view them and what we think of them. Spur McCoy and Canyon O'Grady have many of the standard characteristics of Western heroes, but their physical appearance goes against the type.

Steve M said...

I don't mind what theme the threads follow - as long as it's western related.

Western writers often include female's with red hair so I wonder why very few have their lead man with any other colour but red?

IH said...

Jessica Starbuck is an obvious female character with red hair, but many others have popped up in the many Westerns I have read.

I guess when they are constructing the male lead, it just seems natural to have him dark haired? Maybe that is what the fans want, or expect?