Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Bounty Hunter series

As Leisure officially publish the fourth in Robert J. Randisi’s Bounty Hunter books in a few days, I thought I’d post a series review I wrote some time ago after reading all five books one after the other.

by Robert J. Randisi

Leisure, August 2008
first published as by Joshua Randall
PaperJacks, July 1987

Decker’s name was cleared moments before he was to hang for a crime he didn’t commit. But in a way a life did end for Decker – and a new one as a bounty hunter began. Leaving his old life behind, Decker roams the West. The only part of his past he keeps is the noose that was once around his neck. A grim and relentless tracker, he is obsessed with finding his man. He is known in every frontier town and feared by every man with a price on his head.

by Robert J. Randisi
Leisure, December 2008
first published as by Joshua Randall
PaperJacks, October 1987

Moran had a nice scheme going for himself. It was easy for him to make some friends and get appointed sheriff of small towns all over the West. But he had no interest in wearing a badge for long – and he preferred the life of an outlaw to that of a lawman. So after a while, the new sheriff would rob the local bank and head for Mexico – where the real law couldn’t touch him. But Decker, the Bounty Hunter, would chase a guilty man to hell and back for the right price…

by Robert J. Randisi
Leisure, May 2009
first published as by Joshua Randall
PaperJacks, January 1988

He came to San Francisco for a woman – a woman with a price on her head. She’s a beautiful con artist who has left a long trail of men with their pants down and their wallets empty. And when she started to hit banks the bounty on her grew enough to interest Decker. But Frisco is the West’s wildest city, and Decker soon has more than one woman on his mind. Helping two beautiful sisters puts Decker in the middle of a deadly game of blackmail. And searching for another woman’s missing sister gets him involved in a crime of passion.

by Robert J. Randisi
Leisure, November 2009
first published as by Joshua Randall
PaperJacks, May 1988

Like other hired killers The Baron did his work cleanly and professionally, but he was cut from a different cloth. The Baron had class. Apparently, The Baron – that’s what they called him – really is a baron. For Decker, the Bounty Hunter, The Baron will be the first hired killer he hunts. Come to think of it, Decker and The Baron aren’t such different fellows after all. Their lethal livelihood is their common bond. Which makes The Baron an even more dangerous target for The Bounty Hunter.

by Robert J. Randisi

Leisure, August 2010
first published as by Joshua Randall
PaperJacks, November 1988

When a fellow bounty hunter is gunned down, Decker wants retribution so bad he’ll go across the country for it. Leaving Harrison City, Iowa and heading for New York City armed with the names of the killers, Decker is bent on evening the score. But Gotham isn’t kind to it all its visitors – and Decker is mistaken for his murdered colleague! Dodging bullets in a place unknown to the Bounty Hunter and feeling more vengeful than ever, Decker is driven to a riveting showdown in Central Park before he can let the guns cool off.

This series seems to tip its hat to the TV western series Wanted Dead or Alive, which starred Steve McQueen as Josh Randall, a bounty hunter. In fact the first book is dedicated to McQueen.

Like most of Robert J. Randisi’s work these books are made up of very short chapters that are dialogue driven. All the stories are extremely fast paced and full of well-drawn characters, one of which appears in more than one book, so it might enhance a readers enjoyment to read the series in order.

Robert Randisi plots well and builds the storylines through twists and turns as his characters second guess and attempt to double-cross each other before the final showdowns. The identity of the bad guys is usually known early on but there are some surprise revelations to be found in a couple of the books.

Having Decker carry the noose that he was nearly hanged by is an excellent touch, one that I’d have liked to have seen mentioned more often and used a little more in the series.

Occasionally I could see similarities between Decker and Clint Adams – the hero of Robert Randisi’s long running Gunsmith series, plus the fact that both characters have a bar owner friend who supplies them with information. Unlike The Gunsmith, Decker isn’t fast with a pistol he prefers a rifle.

The books I read were the PaperJacks versions and there was a big problem with two of the books – and I’ll quickly add not Robert Randisi’s fault – and that is that some of the pages are printed in the wrong order, which was frustrating to say the least – and I’d guess for Mr. Randisi too. I’d imagine that this has been corrected by Leisure.

Overall this is a very entertaining series that offers quick and action-packed reads - and it doesn’t really matter if you don’t read the books in order – that should be read by all fans of the western genre.

Those of you who are collecting the Leisure versions of these books – and the eagle-eyed among you will have already spotted this – may like to know that Leisure will be publishing the fifth book, Broadway Bounty, in August 2010.


James Reasoner said...

This is an excellent series, and I like the way you posted the covers from both editions of each book. I also enjoyed ANGEL EYES, the other series Bob did for PaperJacks.

RJR said...

Steve, thanks for the kind words on Bounty Hunter.Also thanks toJames. The Leisure covers are SO superior to the old Paperjacks covers. And, yes, on those I did use Josh Randall as my pseudonym., McQueen's name on Wanted: Dead or Alive. I'm very happy tp have these books backin print. Leisure won't reprint Angel Eyes, though, because it's an adult western.Same with Tracker and Mountain Jack Pike.