Wednesday 26 September 2012

Johnny Dollar

By Tony Masero
Hale, September 2012

They called him Johnny Dollar.

An orphan child raised by a preacher and destined to run foul of the law it’s bloody murder that keeps Johnny running, with trouble on his trail.

Riding shotgun into Julesville, he finds a pretty schoolteacher set to win his love. But in the shadows, the Hellblazing Gang are waiting, determined to steal something a sight more valuable than a man’s heart. The gang holds a secret which is part of Johnny’s past and the key to his future, and to gain his freedom Johnny Dollar has to pay a murderous price, one which is delivered in hot lead instead of greenbacks….

Tony Masero has created an excellent hero in Johnny Dollar. A man whose legend comes about through untrue tales about his activities, giving him an unwanted notoriety and even when Johnny thinks he may be escaping those myths someone manages to spill those untruths again and Johnny’s life takes a turn for the worse.

The story begins before Johnny is born and we follow his life through all its trials and tribulations. Being accused of murdering his guardian, then of more killings when escaping prison, these are just a couple of the difficulties he has to deal with. Later, when he meets Joanna and finds himself working as a lawman life looks like it’s taking a turn for the better…until he realizes a bunch of people from his past are set to destroy his dreams.

Full of excellent characters the story moves forwards at a swift pace, with action aplenty. Tony Masero brings everything to a head in a courtroom showdown that concludes the tale of Johnny Dollar in superb fashion.

I also noticed that Tony Masero tips his hat to a number of western authors from days past as his uses their names for a lot of his characters; for instance you’ll find a Short, LeMay and Slade.

Tony Masero not only wrote the book he also painted the cover image too.

Let’s hope it’s not too long before we see another BHW from Tony.

Johnny Dollar has an official release date of September 28th but is available now.


benbridges said...

Great review, Steve. I always enjoy Tony's westerns, and of course, his covers speak for themselves!

Rowena said...

Looking forward to this read, could not put the last one I read "Jake Rains" down for long. Tony is a great storyteller.

Gail G said...

I'm sorry to have to point out that the cover image is clearly plagiarized. It is identical to an extremely well known photo of the actor Robert Fuller (who is still living, btw) in his iconic role of Jess Harper on the American TV series "Laramie." That Mr. Masero if presenting this as an original art work is rather unethical, to say the least.

Steve Lewis said...

I may have to make an effort to find this one, but you make it sound as if it would be worth the effort.

When you say "...a courtroom showdown that concludes the tale of Johnny Dollar in superb fashion," does that mean that there's no chance there could a JOHNNY DOLLAR series?

I ask this because there was an Old Time Radio show also called JOHNNY DOLLAR, about a fellow who was a free-lance insurance investigator working out of Hartford CT.

No connection, I know!

Steve M said...

Gail, if you study western covers from now and the past you will see that cover artists have used film stills to create their works. Many covers can have their film source easily identified.

It is even more obvious in the cover pieced together from film photographs in photoshop. The actors are very easy to pick out, just check the Longarm series to see what I mean.

I reckon Clint Eastwood must have appeared on more western books then anyone else.

I'm sure this technique is used on other genres too. If it wasn't acceptable by the trade for whatever reason then I'm sure they'd insist that film stills aren't to be used for the basis of cover art.

Steve M said...

Steve, it's hard to answer your question without giving the ending away. What I will say is it's extremely rare for the lead character in a BHW to die.

If you want to know anymore than that then please send me a private email.

Steve Lewis said...

Thanks, Steve, but I think that ambiguous remark of yours will be enough. I really don't need to know the ending, especially since I've found copies of the book for sale on Amazon. I don't know if I'll spend the $20 or so I'd need to obtain it, since I am trying to cut back on book buying, but the OTR connection is intriguing, even if there isn't one!

Steve M said...

Steve, keep an eye on Hale's ebook westerns, you never know it may be released in this way sometime down the line, and will be much cheaper if this happens.

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Masero is lucky in that he can design his own covers - as always this one is excellent.