Friday, 17 October 2008

Gunslinger #2

as by Charles C. Garrett
Sphere, 1978

John Ryker was a gunsmith. One of the best in the West. But now circumstances had forced him to become a bounty hunter too. And his gun-skill made him the most lethal one-man slaughter-force around.

Emiliano Muerta didn’t know just how deadly Ryker was when he arrogantly ordered him to create the fanciest handgun ever made just to satisfy Muerta’s vanity. And when Muerta tried to welsh on the deal, he didn’t know the savage and violent price Ryker would make him pay for his treachery…

After his father’s death in the first book of the series, Ryker is at a loss as what to do with himself, and this is when he finds himself tricked by the fat lawman, Nolan, to head out on the bounty trail. This provides some great reading about Ryker’s self-doubts about his abilities to be a bounty hunter due to his lack of experience in hunting outlaws, and of using guns in anger.

Each of the Gunslinger books features a different gun, and all the books contain loads of information about guns; in this case it’s a standard Dragoon that Ryker will work on to turn into a work of art. How he does this is all explained in fascinating detail.

Once Muerta double-crosses Ryker you know you’re in for a bloodbath as Ryker takes on the whole gang single-handedly. All the killing described in gory detail as only Angus Wells can. (Charles C. Garrett is a pseudonym shared by Wells and Laurence James)

Like most of the books to come form the group of writers known as the Piccadilly Cowboys, there are plenty of references to their other series heroes. In this case in the form of memories of them calling into Ryker’s gunsmith store.

For me, this was always one of the best in the series, and I’d recommend it to anyone who has an interest in guns of the west and likes their westerns filled with savage, bloody action.


Ray said...

I know this series as I've read two or three. For me it's the details about guns that sets it apart. Again, like Edge and Herne, there is a depth to the character of Ryker.


Yeah I remember this character - I remember reading a few of these as a kid.

Steve M said...

Definately the gun details that gave this series a different slant to the other PC westerns - or any other series that I can think of right now.

I was always disappointed that the series only lasted for ten books.


Steve - Yeah, I think they came towards the end of the PC boom.

Steve M said...

There were quite a few series that came after Gunslinger Gary, namely Hart the Regulator, The Lawmen, Gringos, Bodie the Stalker, Claw, Crow, Hawk, Peacemaker, and The Undertaker.

Breed and Herne the Hunter started only the year before and Caleb Thorn was the same year.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED the Claw, Edge and Undertaker books, but it has been 20 years since my mum told me there wasn't enough room in our new house for me to take them with me (I think it was really because she didn't think them 'suitable' for a 14 yr old GIRL), so I had to get rid of them - it was awful! Can anyone give me authors names please, would love to re-stock them.

Steve M said...

Both Edge and The Undertaker are by George G. Gilman and Claw was by Matthew Kirk.

I can't begin to imagine how awful it must have been to be told to get rid of your books...