Thursday 5 March 2015

The Gunsmith's last ride for Jove

By J.R. Roberts
Jove, March 2015

Clint Adams has always tried to do the right thing. But when he finds a toddler roaming a trail in Wyoming, he makes a choice that leads him down a path towards his toughest challenge yet – and possibly his last.

With the child in one hand and his gun near the other, Clint rides into a nearby town, where he finds a mysterious mayor, a sheriff who’s had one hard night too many, and a madam who’d be happy to start a home with the Gunsmith and his precious cargo. But a greedy rancher and his wife are curious about the child as well – and they’re ready to ensure he and Clint take a long dirt nap…

The last Gunsmith book from Jove (see below) has all the elements that have endeared this series to many, many readers, myself included. Short chapters broken into even shorter scenes that stick mainly with Clint Adams, but also tell what others are planning and doing, make it so easy to say to yourself I'll just read one more chapter and before you know it you’ll be swept up in the fast moving plot and then it’ll be impossible to put the book down before the end is reached.

The story is dialogue driven and includes plenty of exciting action, such as the Gunsmith taking on seven adversaries single-handed. Adam’s knack for second-guessing his enemies moves often see him one step ahead and able to deal with anything that is thrown at him. Why the toddler is wandering alone, and what happened to his family is soon discovered, as is the who put the child in this perilous position. But it is the why that demands you read on, and this comes as a shocking revelation, one I didn’t guess, that makes this such a hard-hitting tale and makes this a book that fans of the series should not miss, as is the fact that, as I already mentioned, this is the last Gunsmith book from Jove.

Like with many other western series Berkley have decided to cease publishing The Gunsmith series, but fans need not despair because J.R. Roberts (Robert J. Randisi) and Clint Adams are not yet ready to ride off into the sunset just yet. To explain more I’ll now hand you over to Mr. Randisi himself….

The Gunsmith Continues
By Robert J. Randisi, aka J.R. Roberts

It was a bloodbath, probably fitting, given how long adult westerns and mens adventure paperbacks have been spilling blood within their pages.  But in one fell swoop publishers, with seeming disregard for the readers—or the readers that were left, anyway—cancelled all the Adult Western series—notably the long running Longarm and Gunsmith series—and mens adventure series—most notably, the Mack Bolan series.  This move, as of April of 2015, will not only rob loyal readers of the adventures of Custis Longarm and Mack Bolan, but will also put entire stables of writers out of work. Both series, along with many others, were written by multiple writers, having supplied work for many working writers for a good 40 years.  In fact, the Adult Western genre not only invigorated the western genre and kept it alive, but provided income for dozens of writers over the years. And now it’s the end of an era for all of them . . .
. . . except The Gunsmith.


Very simple answer. For the most part, the Gunsmith was created and written by one man. When Charter Books contacted me in 1981 and asked me if I could create an Adult Western series for them, I jumped at the chance.  I created a bible and, when it was approved, signed a two book contract.

 Then a contract for a third.  And then they called me and said they wanted to go into the genre whole-heartedly, and could I write a book a month.  I was 30 years old, had no idea if I could write a book a month, but I said “Yes!”

I started writing under the pseudonym J.R. Roberts.  When I attended my first Western convention I discovered what anomaly the Gunsmith and I were. There were several other monthly adult westerns running at the time, and they were being written by three or four writers under a single house name. A “house name” is a name used by many authors on one series.  My “J.R. Roberts” nom de-plume was a pseudonym used by one person, not a house name. (It was only after Berkley Books purchased Charter Books and wanted to keep the Gunsmith going that they asked if they could hire two more writers, just to build up an inventory. The writers were to be approved by me, and I was to own even those books which I did not write, and receive a royalty. It made me even more of an anomaly in the genre. Once we had built up a one year inventory, I went back to writing all the books.).

And I have done so since then, for over 32 years.  Gunsmith #1: Macklin’s Women came out in January of 1982, and there has been a Gunsmith every month since then.  Berkley Books decided to end of the run in March of 2015 with #399, and I was given enough warning so that I was able to place the series elsewhere and assure that Gunsmith #400 would appear in April of 2015, with no break in the action.  They will appear with a new cover design in ebook for from Piccadilly Publishing, and in paperback from Western Trailblazers.   And Our Man Clint will go on appearing in a book a month for as long as my flying fingers can flex. 

So to those loyal Gunsmith readers who pick up each and every month, you may continue to do so, with heartfelt thanks from me, and from Our Man Clint Adams. 

I should also thank Charter Books, where it all started, and then Berkley Books, which has kept the series going all these years, as we all move on to the next bend in the road. 


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