Sunday, 31 August 2008

Seven Ways from Sundown

by Huffaker
Futura, 1974
originally published 1960

Hennesey pointed his bay north. ‘Let’s go, boy.’
Seven turned back for one last look at the shack and saw the old woman peering out after them through a cracked window. ‘She sure didn’t care for the Rangers.’
‘They like you best when they’re in trouble.’
‘She seemed to’ve liked Flood.’
‘Everybody does. Till he kills ‘em.’

Jim Flood was a born killer. He’s as fast as lightning and just as indifferent. Hated everybody in general, no one in particular. The Lieutenant sent Seven Smith to hunt Flood down because Seven had pinched his girl. Seven was a green young ranger and not exactly quick on the draw. No one gave much for Seven’s chances.

This is an extremely entertaining read with the character of Seven Ways From Sundown Smith being an engaging hero (you want an explanation of his name then you’ll have to read the book – it made me laugh). Seven’s inexperience with a gun leads to some humorous moments as he attempts to become more proficient.

Flood is also another standout character, he comes across as a likable man, yet there’s always the feeling that he might up and kill Seven at any moment, which leads to some excellent exchanges between the two. A good half of the book sees Seven and Flood riding together as Seven attempts to get his prisoner back to the Rangers headquarters.

Along the way there’s plenty of action, fights with Apaches, soldiers and bounty hunters. There’s love interest for Seven in Joy, which also means there’s the jealous Lieutenant to deal with.

All in all this is a worthwhile read from Clair Huffaker - a man who also wrote for a number of television series, such as 'Rawhide', 'The Virginian' and 'Bonanza', and had seven of his books made into major motion pictures.

3 comments:

ARCHAVIST said...

Love this blog...just to let you know I've managed to get hold of a derby man novel, North Chase from Ebay. You may remember your review of the series on an earlier posting got me interested in the off-beat character. Anyway let you know what I think of the book in due course.

Steve M said...

Be interested to hear what you think of the Derby Man book, I've yet to read that one. There's another review waiting to appear here.

ARCHAVIST said...

Yeah I've put it in my pile for reading next - I'll probably cover it on my own blog. I'll let you know when I post it.

This was sought out because of your features of the character on this blog so if I like it, thanks in advance. If I don't we'll have to meet at high noon.