Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Barjack and the Unwelcome Ghost

by Robert J. Conley
Leisure, September 2009

Marshal Barjack likes to keep peace and quiet in the tiny town of Asininity. It’s better for business at the Hooch House, the saloon that Barjack owns. But peace and quiet got mighty hard to come by once Harm Cody came to town. Cody’s made a lot of enemies over the years and some of them are hot on his trail, aiming to kill him—including a Cherokee named Miller and a pretty little sharpshooter named Polly Pistol. And when the Asininity bank gets robbed, well, now Cody has a whole new bunch of enemies…including Barjack.

Although I’ve read other books by Robert J. Conley, this was the first time I’d read one of his Barjack books. Barjack is a great character who seems to spend more time with his woman and drinking whiskey than working in his marshalling office. The book is written in the first person and Barjack has some great outlooks on life, and has a pretty sharp tongue, dishing out some superb sarcasm throughout the story.

Harm Cody makes for an excellent bad guy who gives Barjack and his friends a real problem as they chase him down only to have him disappear time and again. This all makes for some very entertaining reading. Cody’s ability to vanish from under Barjack’s nose soon has him thinking he’s chasing a ghost.

As well as plenty of action, Robert J. Conley includes some very funny moments, such as the laugh-out-loud scene involving a bathtub.

The only problem I had with the book was the writing style in that it took a bit of getting used to. Conley writes the book as his characters speak, so there is plenty of slang and wrongly spelt words – for instance seed instead of saw, tuck instead of took, skeered instead of scared, drawed instead of drew, and Churkee instead of Cherokee. Once I’d read a page or two and got used to this way of writing I found myself enjoying it and found it gave the book a charm all of its own.

This story has definitely got me wanting to check out more of Robert J. Conley’s Barjack books, seems I’ve been missing out on a great series.


Craig Clarke said...

Thanks for the review. Conley is new to me, and this sounds like a fun read.

Steve M said...

Robert J. Conley has been writing books for a long time Craig, there's many to choose from.