Friday, 27 March 2009

Joe Blade

as by Matt Chisholm
Panther, May 1959

Joe Blade had two passions in life: Sarah, and his horses. Joe and Sarah were the kind of people who started a legend on the flaming frontier of the Old West; Joe was a man who stuck to his word, while Sarah was a woman who stuck to her man.

When someone from her past was crazy enough to touch her and Joe’s horses, it was the beginning of a long and relentless search. Joe was a man who did not know what it was to give up, especially when he was riding in company with Pierre Duclos, the greatest scout the West ever knew.

Joe searched for his horses, his enemies, and for justice. And he found them all.

Matt Chisholm wrote this book in the first person, but not from just one person’s point of view. The book is divided into four parts with the first and last sections being told through the voice of Sarah Blade, the second part through Joe Blade and the third portion as Pierre Duclos. This way of telling the story helps make the book stand-out from any others I’ve read for a long time.

The book is filled with action from beginning to end that makes for some edge of the seat reading, as it often seems impossible for Chisholm’s heroes to survive the dangerous predicaments they find themselves in. And it’s during one of these gunfights, early on, that Chisholm cripples the main hero of the book, Joe Blade, which results in him losing a leg. For a horseman this is devastating, and how this loss of limb is overcome proves to be one of the strong points of the story.

Chisholm’s descriptions of action and landscape are superbly told, you can see events unfold before your eyes, share his characters fears, desperations, and jubilations. You can feel the cold, the heat, and taste the dust. Feel the tension in such life threatening situations as attempting to trade for ponies with Indians.

As the story’s circular path returned to where it began, to finish with yet another brutally savage fight that tied all the plot threads up neatly, I realized I’d once more really enjoyed a book by Matt Chisholm (author Peter Watts), and must again recommend this writer to all fans of the western.

Note: In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s Matt Chisholm had a series of twelve books published called Blade, about a man called Joe Blade. At first I thought all these books were about the same man, now I’m not so sure, as the time periods don’t fit, and the series hero has two legs.

3 comments:

David Cranmer said...

My FFFB today is A FAMILY AFFAIR by Rex Stout and features a character named Pierre Ducos. That minor thought aside, I appreciate the history you always include with your reviews and I was unaware of this series and will remember it. Gracias.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Just lovely Steve. Thanks. Let me know if you continue to post them.

ARCHAVIST said...

agree another book to add to my GOT TO GET pile.