Friday, 23 January 2009

Hawk #9

as by William S. Brady
Fontana, 1981

The Willard brothers didn’t know what they were letting themselves in for when they took Ben King’s wife off the train. She was beautiful and her husband was rich… Rich enough to hire Jared Hawk to bring his wife back and kill the men who took her.

Hawk didn’t like King’s methods, but the big man’s money spoke loud enough to persuade him, so he took the job. It didn’t look too difficult… Not until he got tangled up in a spider’s web of lethal intrigue.

But Hawk had a way of solving problems – with a .45 calibre lead slug!

The Hawk series first appeared in 1979 and ran for fifteen books, the last one coming out in 1983. William S. Brady being a pseudonym shared by Angus Wells and John Harvey, this entry being written by Wells.

Like most anti-heroes created by the group of authors known as The Piccadilly Cowboys, Jared Hawk is a cold, heartless, character who can be every bit as cruel as those he is hunting, and the book has its fair share of savage violence told in all its gory detail.

Wells includes a number of short flashback sequences to explain some of Hawk’s past, in particular why he wears a black glove on his left hand and of his time working with John T. McLain (the lead character from another William S. Brady series; Peacemaker).

Like many PC heroes Hawk carries an unusual weapon, a cut-down Meteor single barrel shotgun, carried in a specially designed belt holster, and this gun is used to devastating effect.

The story itself gets off to a good start but then seems to plod on as much of the rest of the book is taken up with Hawk tracking the kidnappers, with nothing much happening, although Wells’ descriptions of landscapes and conditions are very well told.

Once Hawk finds the truth behind the kidnapping he decides to take matters into his own hands and the book comes to a blood drenched conclusion.

Perhaps not the best work to come from Angus Wells but still worth a look if your preferred choice in western reading is for the more brutal books.


Duane Spurlock said...

That's a nice, sharp cover illo for this entry. Thanks for sharing.

Steve M said...

Lots of great covers on this series of books Duane, glad you liked it.

The artist for the first 13 Hawk covers was Robert Adams, and I think he is a superb artist. I always felt it a shame he didn't do the last two Hawk covers. He did move to a different publisher and paint six (#13 - 18) Breed covers.