Saturday 12 May 2012

Longarm and the 400 Blows

By Tabor Evans
Jove, March 2012

The 400th Longarm adventure.

In all his years as a lawman, Longarm’s been pistol-whipped, punched out, trampled, and shot more times than he can count – but his latest hangover may be the worst he’s ever felt.

Until he runs afoul of Anton Gardner…

Since he’s come to Fort Marion to extradite the prisoner Gardner – who robbed a military payroll and killed seven men – Longarm’s been attacked by cops with clubs, hurt by a blow to the head from Gardner’s lovely red-haired accomplice, shot in the ribs, and tossed in jail. And the hardest blow of all: Gardner’s escaped with his badge and is impersonating the lawman. One thing’s for sure…Longarm is not down for the count.

I’ve always been amazed that the publishers of the long running western series don’t make more of a fuss over reaching such milestones as the 400th book in their publishing history. Other than the book number shown on the cover there is nothing to announce this achievement. At one time ‘anniversary edition,’ or something similar appeared on the cover but these days nothing. 

The book itself is just a regular Longarm adventure that stands up well with other entries in the series. Perhaps reflects those from the earlier days of the series more than those I’ve read that have been published in the last few years, in so much as the plot is fairly basic with most of the story being taken up with one sexual encounter after another.

The story follows Longarm on his way to Fort Marion and during this journey he meets several women that he beds, and then he collects and loses his prisoner, during his pursuit of Gardner Longarm meets more women which leads to more sex. From this description long time readers of the Longarm series will see what I mean about the book being more like those early stories, which made the series very popular back then, enough so that we’ve now got the 400th regular sized book (there have been 28 giant editions published too).

I found the book to be very readable, its short chapters of three or four pages making it easy for me to keep saying that I’ll read just a couple more and before I knew it I’d reached the end. Descriptive passages are excellent and dialogue believable – even though Longarm is somewhat more foul-mouthed than many writers behind the pseudonym of Tabor Evans present him. Overall the book entertained and proved to be an enjoyable read. Roll on the next hundred!


larry gebert said...

Steve thanks for writing these reviews for western fiction,keeping the genre alive.

Steve M said...

Glad you like them Larry.

I just wish I could both read and write more....

Langhans said...

Catalog of Copyright Entries says this one and the next were written by Frank Roderus.