THE GUNSMITH #1:
By J.R. Roberts
Speaking Volumes, December 2011
Ex-lawman Clint Adams makes his living as a travelling gun trader, a job which takes him all over the West. In a sleepy Missouri town he finds a trio of beautiful women who will do anything – pay any price – to be reunited with their former “protector,” Con Macklin.
The Gunsmith agrees to take them to him and rides out on the dirty and dangerous trail to Mexico. He delivers the women but faces an army of hardcases led by Macklin – who wants his women back and The Gunsmith dead.
This story first appeared as a paperback book way back in January 1982 and has now become available as an ebook, a paperback, and an audio book produced by Speaking Volumes, and it’s the latter I’m looking at here.
Mackin’s Women is presented on 5 discs (it can also be bought as MP3s) and has a running time of approximately 6 hours. Each disc is divided into a number of short tracks so if you have to stop listening part way through it is very easy to find your place again. After hearing a few of these tracks there is a brief interlude of music that I presume signals chapter ends – I didn’t have my copy of the original book handy to check if my assumption is correct.
The story is read by Barry Campbell in clear and easy to hear speech; he alters his tone for dialogue and often lowers or raises his voice to differentiate between characters.
As many readers will already know The Gunsmith books are billed as an adult western series and the difference between the amount of sex in this story and those being published today is dramatic. Gunplay is a regular occurrence too, with Clint Adams often finding himself outnumbered, his superb ability with a gun keeping him alive as he kills an impressive number of hardcases. Along the way Clint finds himself backed by his old friend Wild Bill Hickok and meets a man called Earp. There’s also a few puzzles for Clint to ponder on, such as trying to discover just what Macklin’s treasure is and where it’s hidden, along with what Macklin is planning to do with his small army of outlaws, and who is sending gunmen to kill Macklin’s women.
Listening to this story proved to be a pleasurable experience and I’m now looking forward to hearing the second book very soon.