Friday, 21 November 2008

Hart the Regulator #4

by John B. Harvey
Pan, 1980

The Regulator is Wes Hart – ex-soldier, ex-Texas Ranger, ex-rider with Billy the Kid. He’s tough, ruthless, slick with a .45. He’s for hire now and he isn’t cheap…

Little Alice was cute. And brave. On her father’s instruction – and for the right price – Hart agreed to escort her to Denver. Seemed like easy money…until Hart discovered silver bullion stashed away in the stagecoach…

Lee Sternberg’s gang found out too. So they figured on blowing Hart’s head clean off and making a quick exit with the loot. Hart thought different. So after the blood of an ambush, it’s the agony of a kidnapping and the brutality of a pulse-pounding showdown in a Rancho Nuevo whorehouse…

And all this for a little girl…

The first part of this book sees Hart trying to find a friend who appeared in the previous book and also mentions quite a few events that happened in that book and those before. Because of this I’ll suggest new readers to the series may find it worthwhile reading the first three books before reading this one.

Once Hart is persuaded to escort Alice to Denver the story really picks up in pace. John Harvey also spends a lot of time fleshing out the Sternberg gang; telling us their backgrounds and reasons for riding the outlaw trail. In fact Hart isn’t in this part of the book much. When he is it is usually showing him at odds with Alice, which leads to some humorous dialogue.

Although the violence isn’t described in as much gory detail as the other writers might have done, who shared the name of the Piccadilly Cowboys, it nevertheless is as brutal at times.

This book also introduces the reader to a character who will play an important part in Hart’s life in a later book.

As I’ve said this book is perhaps not as savage as other work from the Piccadilly Cowboys, so as well as being essential reading for their fans, this should appeal to all who enjoy a fast moving action packed tale.



I've not read this so can only comment on the cover - once again a hero is drawn to look like Clint Eastwood.

Steve M said...

The artist, Gino D'Achille, must have had a book filled with images of Clint Eastwood as all ten of the books in this series are definately Eastwood copies.

Nevertheless it can be fun trying to work out which film each cover comes from.

Ray said...

I found it best to read Hart from the first book - again this is another series where I read a later book first.
Just on a biographical note: John B Harvey is another North Londoner and was born a few miles from my own birthplace in the same year.
Archivist - you might be interested in knowing that this is the sames John Harvey who writes the Resnick novels.