Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Trailsman #294

as by Jon Sharpe
Signet, April 2006.

Mauled by a grizzly bear, Skye Fargo is near death. By chance he’s discovered by the Bryan brothers, unfortunatley one has just busted the other two out of prison. Fargo, now in their debt for saving him, is talked into trying to clear them of murder. Soon Fargo discovers the Bryans may not be as guilty as others claim. Before long he’s up against a group of corrupt officials who’ll do anything to stop the truth getting out.

This author tells a fast paced story filled with action and double-cross. Although he reveals the plot twists early on he keeps adding more to keep you wondering as to the outcome and to the innocence of the Bryans.

His writing style is somewhat different to other Trailsman authors in so much as he switches from one set of characters to the next regularly. Although it’s obvious Fargo is the hero, he isn’t in the book as much as might be expected.

There are a couple of little mistakes due to this author not researching Fargo’s character enough that might annoy long time Trailsman fans, one of which he writes that Skye has often wondered at the similarity of his last name, Fargo, and that of a certain stagecoach line. The author obviously doesn’t know that Skye Fargo isn’t the Trailsman’s real name or to the significance of the name Fargo.

Slight criticisms apart, this is an entertaining read, if you can overlook the mistakes.


Mister Roy said...

I'll say one thing for this series - the publishers invest in some great artwork for the covers, and high-quality graphic design. Perhaps the best-dressed longrunning series?

Steve M said...

I'd totally agree with you. It's gotta be the only series - published today - where the cover scenes actually match events in the book.

The artists they use really do understand the use of light and colour.

Mister Roy said...

I think a cover relevant to the story makes a book look more interesting - if nothing else, it shows the publishers think it's worthwhile providing a specific cover.

Over time, a generally good standard of cover art can help develop the character in the public imagination, Edge being a case in point.

I'm sure there are economics to this; maybe it needs a series that's proved itself, like Trailsman, to justify commissioning bespoke covers. I'd be interested in knowing how the process works - eg do the artists get an outline, a specific idea or the whole book.

Mister Roy said...

I guess the Trailsman covers are clever - with the three images - some close-up action, a longer shot in a landscape, and a pretty lady. So they have three hooks for the readers and fairly reflect the character of the novels.