THE GUNSMITH #2:
By J.R. Roberts
Speaking Volumes, December 2011
Black Wind, Arizona is torn apart with prejudice and hatred, fuelled by the greed of a ruthless town boss and his hired gunslicks. A nearby colony of Chinese immigrants, the hapless victims of violence, turn to Clint Adams for help.
A lovely Oriental enchantress persuades him to join her people – and to share her bedroll. So The Gunsmith will train the Chinese laborers in the art of Western warfare, until he discovers he has his own score to settle with the wild town.
The Chinese Gunman original appeared in paperback form in February 1982. Now it’s been republished in a variety of formats and the version I’m looking at here is the audio book. Although I’ve read many Gunsmith books, this, the second entry in the long running series, is one that I’ve never got around to before.
Adams runs into all kinds of trouble and intrigue in this fast moving tale. The main bad guy who goes under the name of Himself, turns out to be a worthy adversary. On meeting Himself Adams gets a shock as he knows this man, indeed this man has played an important part in the Gunsmith’s past, is somewhat responsible for making Adams the man he is today. The story contains flashbacks to explain this past, and this I found fascinating as it filled in a lot of Adams back-story, including of the time he was a lawman.
The identity of Himself is not the only surprise waiting for Adams as others are not being completely truthful about who they are. It isn’t long before the Gunsmith is suspicious of not only Himself but the Chinese too, not to mention activities within the whorehouse. So there is plenty of mystery elements to hold the readers attention as the story unfolds at a rapid pace.
The audio version of The Chinese Gunman is presented on 4 discs (it can also be bought as MP3s) and has a running time of approximately 5 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 signals chapter ends. Barry Campbell in clear and easy to hear speech reads the story; he alters his tone for dialogue and often lowers or raises his voice to differentiate between characters.
Overall I found this to be a very entertaining story, and will add that it’s essential reading for fans of the series due to the telling of so much of Adams’ background.