Monday, 4 August 2008

Edge #21

RHAPSODY IN RED
as by George G. Gilman
NEL, January 1977

High Mountain, a small frontier town in Colorado, is to stage a musical extravaganza and wild festival. Rollo Stone, the famous violinist, is the main attraction and hordes of music lovers pack the town to witness the event. But with crowds comes trouble. The fragile rule of law and order collapses as a bunch of hired guns take over. The sheriff is gunned down and Edge, forever in the thick of things, is left to sort out the mess.

The main theme of this book, the music festival, is one I’ve not come across in any other westerns and it’s this element that helps make this book so unique. George G. Gilman (author Terry Harknett) must have had fun coming up with the singers and band names that are to play at the High Mountain festival, people and groups such as Rollo Stone, The Alice Cooper Choir and Robert Dillon. It’s not only these names that made me smile, but so too did the sheriff’s nickname, High-Fy, and the many other mentions of records and stereos. And then there’s the Devil’s Disciples who are obviously modelled on the Hell’s Angels, and of course it’s these that get on Edge’s wrong side.

In fact it’s his run in with two of them, whilst attempt to take his horse across the street, that provides one of the most memorable scenes of the book. Another unforgettable character is that of Hiram Rydell, an Easterner who talks like he’s stepped out of a dime novel, who is soon acting, speaking and killing much like Edge, which greatly disturbs the half-breed.

As is to be expected from a George G. Gilman book the story is written in a hard-boiled style, filled with savage and brutally descriptive violence, and includes many groan-worthy one-liners from Edge.

2 comments:

ARCHAVIST said...

I love the Edge books - they are so entertaining. I can't wait to see what you think of the others. Try the third, Apache Death

Steve M said...

I've read them all many times over, also all the PC westerns. I bought them as they came out...now I'm showing my age LOL