Friday, 26 December 2014

Man in the Saddle

By Matt Chisholm writing as Cy James
Piccadilly Publishing, December 2014

First published by Panther Books, March 1966.

Two braves came up to Spur and ripped the remains of his shirt from his body. The sweat poured down him. Then the man wearing the buffalo horns turned and faced him. In his hands he held a hot iron. He was still smiling. He capered a little, dancing nearer and nearer to Spur, hopping on alternate feet, crooning a gentle song.

When he was close to Spur he held the iron near his eyes. The white man dropped his lids against the heat and his heart pounded in his breast like a drum.

It’s going to be damned hard, he thought, to show these boys how a man can die…

The book opens with a frantic attempt by a mother to save her young daughter from Kiowas, a task doomed to failure and the little girl is snatched. After this the story never lets up in the action stakes as Sam Spur tries to find, and rescue, the kidnapped child.

To say Spur is a tough character is an understatement. The threat of death during gunfights or torture can’t dent his resolve to complete his mission. This leads to some very tense confrontations with the Kiowa that also involves bluff and double-cross, culminating in desperate bid for freedom whilst facing vastly superior odds.

Originally published under the author name of Cy James, Piccadilly Publishing have added the writers much more well-known name of Matt Chisholm, which in itself is also a pseudonym. The author’s real name being Peter Watts, an Englishman who at the height of his career was one of, if not the, biggest selling western writer in the UK and he has always been one of my all-time favourites.

So, if you’ve yet to try any of Watts’ work, then this book could be just the place to start if you enjoy hard-hitting, non-stop action westerns.

1 comment:

Andrew McBride said...

Absolutely loved Matt Chisolm's McAllister series. I loved his books for their grittiness, authenticity, excellent action scenes, salty humour and just being extremely readable. A big influence on me as a writer, showing a Brit could do westerns well.