Sunday 31 July 2011

The Ballad of Delta Rose

By Jack Martin
A Black Horse Western from Hale, July 2011

After more than twenty years of living life on the road, Delta Rose returns to the ranch he once owned with his fiancée, Etta James. A bullet wedged close to his heart has dealt Delta the dead man’s hand.

He soon discovers Etta has a secret: they have a son who, by now a young man, is in trouble. He is charged with both robbery and murder. Can Delta redeem himself for a past ill spent and save the life of the son he never knew he had?

Jack Martin starts this book with a strong opening scene and the story never lets up from there. The plot moves forwards quickly and defies the reader to put the book down before finding out how things will end for Delta Rose. Can you save his son? Will he tell his son that he is his father? Will he tell anyone he has come home to die, and will he still be alive by the end?

Jack Martin puts his characters through some strong emotional challenges and does so with confidence and resolves them believably. As the bullet moves closer to Delta Roses’ heart we see the hero become paralysed, share his fears that he will not live to save his son. The action sequences are equally well portrayed.

The author’s sense of humour also comes through as he mentions a dime novel written by ‘some purple prose-loving hack named G.M. Dobbs.’ For those who don’t already know Jack Martin is a pseudonym used by writer Gary Dobbs.

The book ends with a twist that did come as a surprise, and if you want to know whether Delta Rose lives or dies then you’ll just have to get hold of a copy for yourself as I’m not going to reveal that answer here.

The Ballad of Delta Rose was officially released on July 29th so is available now, but be quick if you want a copy as Jack Martin’s previous two books sold out extremely quickly.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Nomad's Trail

The Saga of Simon Bolivar Grimes, Volume 1
By E. Hoffmann Price
Black Dog Books, 2011

Hit the owlhoot trail as naïve Simon Bolivar Grimes, tassel-headed youth from Georgia, sets off for Crockett County, Texas searching for his Uncle Carter. Grimes will boast, brawl, ramble and roll his way from outlaw to hero, whilst learning a little bit about loving along the way.

After a very informative introduction by one of today’s most respected western authors, James Reasoner, Nomad’s Trail then presents the reader with the first twelve stories in the long-running Grimes saga, which made their debut in the very first issue of Spicy Western Stories in November 1936. These early tales have strong links to each other as the storyline of searching for Uncle Carter ties them together as do a number of other reoccurring characters. Once his Uncle has been found and left behind new characters move along with Grimes from tale to tale.

Grimes makes for an engaging hero, his inexperience placing him in some dangerous situations that only his super-fast ability with his guns get him out of alive. Due to being written for Spicy Western Stories Grimes comes into contact with many young women who seem to lose their clothes at some point. Grimes also makes some amazing discoveries about women, like that they have legs! (You’ll have to read it to fully appreciate that comment)

Descriptions are well written and most of the plots are fairly straightforward although many contain a twist or two. The dialogue is of the times, and I must admit I did have to read some of it more than once to fully understand what was being said, but this all adds to the charm of these stories. There’s plenty of action too, be it using guns or fists.

This really is a great collection of stories and as the subtitle is The Saga of Simon Bolivar Grimes, Volume 1 I can only assume that Volume 2 will soon follow. I for one will be looking forward to that being published.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

No Quarter at Devil's Fork

By Terrell L. Bowers
A Black Horse Western from Hale, July 2011

When a crazed outlaw named Chilly Lloyd instigates a heinous crime, it seals the fate of seven other men. Now two friends, Brett Jackson and Reggie Satterfield, put aside their journey to a peaceful life and set out to bring the killers to justice.

Stella Burdette has never had much luck but hope for better things when she agrees to run a chuck wagon for eight hunters, including Chilly Lloyd. Soon, though, she must run for her life. And then Brett and Reggie fall into a deadly trap and are doomed to discover there is No Quarter at Devil’s Fork.

This book is packed with incident, all told in an easy to read style that sees the author telling his story through the eyes of a number of different characters, such as those mentioned in the above blurb. The action is first rate and the dialogue crackles, there’s plenty of humour too, often combined with the tall-tales Satterfield delights in telling whenever possible.

A neat touch to me was that one of the hunters doesn’t have the same attitude as his companions, not falling in line with the others when they rape and kill, in fact he’s sicken by it all, but family blood forces him to stay with them and he has to make a difficult decision later in the book.

Also it’s great to see that the cover art actually depicts a scene from the book, a moment of brutality that makes for a powerful ending for one of the characters.

Terrell L. Bowers is fast becoming one of my favourite BHW writers and this book has left me eagerly looking forward to his next. In the meantime I’m going to be searching through storage for any others I may have.

No Quarter at Devil’s Fork is officially released this coming Friday (the 29th July), but is already available to buy from the usual Internet sources. 

Sunday 24 July 2011

The Trailsman #357

By Jon Sharpe
Signet, July 2011

Colorado, 1860 – caught between a rock and a hard place, Fargo’s going to carve out a new trail – with lead.

After Skye Fargo drives off a pack of stagecoach robbers, he ends up in the middle of a battle for business. In the boomtown of Oro City, there are two coach companies – and the competition between them is getting bloodier every day. But with the Trailsman stepping into the fray, one of them is going to have to let go of the reins….

This book is jam-packed with great characters, such as Big Jim Buchanan, Tangwaci Smith, Brandy Randall and Melissa Hart. And who can forget the two assassins, Miles Blackburn and Hitch? Surely the politest killers to have appeared in a Trailsman book for some time? All these characters are superbly created and are very memorable, all having important roles to play in this very fast moving story.

Fargo really has a challenging time figuring out just who is working for who, who is behind the stagecoach attacks and why. It isn’t long before The Trailsman is caught in the grip of anger, an emotion that brings out the tougher, more deadly side of him, which in turn leads to plenty of bloody action that few will survive.

Once again we have David Robbins writing as Jon Sharpe, so those who’ve read him before will know to expect some humorous comments to balance the violence. All plot threads are neatly tied up at the end and I’m left looking forwards to the next book in the series. 

Thursday 21 July 2011

Interview: Phil Dunlap

My latest interview is with Phil Dunlap, who saw the first in his new series about Sheriff Cotton Burke, published in June by Berkley.

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I started out as an illustrator, drew comic strips, and did story illustrations and covers for children’s magazines, then got into advertising. I started writing ads and ad campaigns, then graduated to magazine articles. I worked for a number of years as a freelance journalist for a large daily newspaper. So, I guess you could say, in one form or another, I’ve always been a writer. Comics, for instance, are as much about the word as the drawing. Although, today I only write novels and short stories.

Did anyone encourage you to be a writer, and if so whom?

No one specifically encouraged me, although I always got high grades in school English, which led me to believe I was going in the right direction. But, I did get a lot of encouragement from the folks who saw my work and read my articles and seemed pleased. I guess you could say it was a general feeling that I was in a good place and one in which I was accepted. As I also seemed to excel in History, the two came together well in the field in which I find myself, today.

What was the first novel you had published and if this wasn’t a western what was your first western?

My first published novel was a Western: The Death of Desert Belle (Avalon Books 2004). In fact, all my novels have been Westerns. The whole thing came about in a strange way. During a plane ride from a visit to Arizona back to my home, I’d picked up a Western novel from the airport bookstore. By the time I got home, I was so incensed by how bad that book was (and that it got published), I decided to write a better one and submit it. That novel ended up being my first published book. The second publisher to whom I sent it bought it.

Which writers influence you?

Elmer Kelton was one of the best Western writers I’ve ever read. And I guess all the traditional writers have had an influence. But not all of them have been Western writers. I read many mysteries and as a result, most of my books have a mystery in them, a fact not lost on most reviewers. That said, I also read contemporary Western writers and, in my humble opinion, there are many wonderful Western writers out there today. It’s too bad more readers don’t take a chance on a good Western. Folks I’ve convinced to try one have almost always become new fans of the genre. And of course, we shouldn’t overlook those writers that have crossed over the genre lines to write in both the mystery and the Western fields. Elmore Leonard and Robert B. Parker come to mind. Two extraordinary craftsmen that are favorite reads. 

Which western writers would you recommend?

There is a trend in publishing today that perpetuates the republication of writers who’re deceased. Now I don’t have a problem with getting the opportunity to re-read the greats, but I do object to having the same ones published over and over with nothing but new cover art. To me, that’s cheating the reader who may think he’s getting a new novel, but isn’t. So, I guess I’d promote the many writers today who keep coming up with new material, new stories, and they do it consistently. Johnny D. Boggs, John Nesbitt, and Larry D, Sweazy–to name a few. There are many others, of course, but space prevents me from boring your readers with a plethora of authors. 

What appeals to you about the western genre?

The time, the place. The general insanity that pervaded the frontier. It seemed to me that the motivations for going West in the first place were less about making a ‘better life for the family’ and more about the riches that many perceived were to be found under nearly every rock. And of course, the gunfights, the dangers, the risks everyone took just to stay alive another day. It has always been mystery to me that so many often-written-about lawmen also trod the opposite sides of the legal fence. They received all the notoriety as opposed to the lesser-known lawmen who stayed on the right side and achieved great success in putting a stop to many bad actor’s lives. Bill Tilghman, Heck Thomas, Commodore Perry Owens–three of dozens who made their marks without much fanfare, to their great credit.

How much importance do you place on research?

Research is very important if you’re trying to let readers get a feel for time and place. Especially if you want to have reviews that sense your accuracy as to weapons, clothing, building materials, flora and fauna, etc. Also, if you’re writing about Arizona in 1869 and you mention a Colt .45 Peacemaker, you’re toast. Any reader worth his salt will jump on a statement like that like a cat on a mouse. Knowledge of the area about which you write is also of the utmost importance. Knowing what cactus is in what area, what type of scorpion you’d find, or which trees, bushes, flowers and critters are native to where your book is set, can only serve to place the reader where you want him: In your story and believing every word. Even if the story is all made up.

How important is historical accuracy in westerns?

If you’re not careful, too much historical accuracy can get you into trouble. I like creating towns that didn’t exist. All my characters are fictional, as well. I do mention some real-life gunslingers, gamblers, and the like as being in a nearby town at the time, but only to serve as another time anchor to believability. In fiction, you have a dual role as an author. The first is to bring a credible, exciting and interesting story to the page. Also, be careful not to break rules about going overboard with your research. Too many facts and too much information about specific guns, for instance, will make you appear to be a show-off. Don’t let the historical accuracy get in the way of the story. Sometimes you have to bend the truth a bit.

What is the biggest challenge in writing a western?

Coming up with a story that hasn’t been told a hundred times before. Finding a fresh approach is tough, but absolutely necessary. And the greatest challenge. But I like challenges and when an editor says, “wow, that was different,” I know I’m headed where I should be. Besides, Westerns are a wonderful opportunity to create characters that are so bizarre, they take on a persona that can’t be considered even possible in a contemporary shoot-em-up, like a police detective or private-eye novel. Not that we don’t have weirdoes running around today, but some of the strangest people I’ve ever read about populated the frontier after the Civil War. And they were real.

Do you work on more than one book at a time?

I have before, but really don’t like to. Dividing one’s mind between several projects detracts from the deep concentration that I find is necessary if my stories are going to find wide appeal. Sloppy writing often comes about as a result of inattention to detail. Even though I have a couple of accomplished readers that get to read and critique the whole thing before I dare send it out, having two books going simultaneously is a hindrance, both to them and to me. This is especially true when writing two Westerns at the same time. Remembering where you are, and which characters are populating the story, can be a real stretch.  

Your recently published book Cotton’s War is the first in a new series, how many of these can we expect?

Well, I have been contracted for a total of four in series. Don’t have any idea whether there will be more or not. My fingers are crossed, however. I tend to fall in love with characters that are more than the stereotypes you usually read about. I like to stretch as much as possible. Hopefully, that lets an editor know I’m serious about what I do and consider me for more books.

Most of your Avalon westerns feature U.S. Marshal Piedmont Kelly, which leads to the question do you prefer writing series novels or stand-alones and why?

I love writing series novels because it enables me to concentrate on building multi-dimensional characters. I also prefer to write in such a way as to make readers expect to see one story morph into other scenarios in later books. For instance, in the Avalon books I’ve introduced an Apache that continues on in the next books. As I build more characters that I like, they tend to give me more story possibilities, too.

One of your Avalon books, Call of the Gun, was reprinted by Leisure. Did you approach Leisure or did they ask Avalon, and why was this book picked instead of one of the others?

Interesting question. In this case, Leisure approached Avalon. Avalon had the contract and one of the rights they held was the right to sell paperbacks, movies, foreign rights, and the like. Call of the Gun was the first Western I ever wrote and I felt a particular kinship to it. Leisure did a lousy job designing the cover and the book didn’t sell well. A huge disappointment to me. The editor admitted they hadn’t come through for me. Soon after that, their covers began to get better and the writers benefited by that fact. Covers are very important in getting someone to pick it up and read the jacket copy. You have two quick chances to make the sale, if either is unsatisfactory to the potential buyer, you’re failed to reach the finish line.

Which of your westerns would you recommend to someone who hasn’t read any of your work yet and why?

Well, obviously I’d prefer they start at the beginning of either series. That would, I hope, entice them to continue on with the series. Cotton’s War is the first in the new series, with the second one, Cotton’s Law, coming next January. Pretty easy to get in on the beginning there. With the hardcover Avalon books, there are presently five in the Piedmont Kelly series, with a sixth in the series, Apache Lawman, coming next June. I know this won’t come as a huge surprise, but I actually like both, and would love to see them continue.

What do you think of the western genre today and what do you think the future holds for the western?

Folks say the traditional Western is dead. I don’t agree. I see new readers coming on board all the time. Some of the biggest surprises are how many women read them. I also notice every time someone has the interest in bringing out a new Western movie or TV special, books sales shoot up. Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to Cowboys and Aliens. I know, I know, the premise is more than strange, but, considering the actors and the producer, hmmm, I’ll give ’er a shot.

What is your favorite western movie and why?

Boy, do I have a bunch of favorites. Open Range, Unforgiven, Rio Bravo (virtually ANY John Wayne flick), True Grit, The Searchers, 3:10 to Yuma, Appaloosa. The truth is, if it’s a Western, I’ll go see it or read it. If it turns out to be garbage, I won’t recommend it to anyone else. I can watch a John Wayne Western a thousand times and never tire of it. For some, once is too much. But I do believe in giving them all a chance to win me over.

Finally what do you read for pleasure?

Anything and everything, as long as I’m promised a good read. I like mysteries, Westerns, thrillers, historicals, almost anything but romances and multi-genre titles like: Supernatural-romantic-time travel-zombie-vampire-love stories. Believe it or not, there is a lot of that kind of thing out there (although mostly self-pubbed). During a small conference I attended some years back, a lady was trying to find interest in her new novel which was a paranormal-vampire-mystery with autobiographical chapters interspersed. Her grandmother was one of the main characters. I don’t think it sold. Thankfully.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Revenge for a Hanging

By Richard Smith
A Black Horse Western from Hale, July 2011

Bush Creek’s hardened Marshal Mason finds his life under threat in his own jail, but he is saved by a young fugitive he had arrested on charges of abduction, horse theft and murder.

When the youngster confesses that he knifed an uncle who had brutally lynched his father, the marshal realizes that he also has a personal interest in settling the long-standing feud that was behind the hanging. Together, the marshal and his young rescuer seek retribution – but final justice can only come after further violence and more deaths.

This is the first BHW by Richard Smith and what a debut it is. The book moves forwards at tremendous pace after hooking the reader straight away by beginning in the middle of a brutal beating. This act of violence needing an explanation, and one the reader will only get by reading more.

Richard Smith doesn’t believe in making life easy for his young hero. Rory Rimmer finding himself accused and arrested for crimes he didn’t commit on more than one occasion. This leads to a number of well-written court scenes.

Marshal Mason proves to be a fascinating character with a background that will play an important part to the outcome of this story, leaving readers to make their own mind up about one of the deaths.

As well as being an action packed tale, the book also contains a falling-in-love storyline. This is one of the reasons Rory Rimmer finds himself in so much trouble, but does it lead to a happy ending for the young couple? That I will leave for you to find out for yourself, and I’m sure you’ll be as equally entertained by this story as I was.

Revenge for a Hanging has an official release date of July 29th but is available now.

Sunday 17 July 2011

Canyon of Death

Book 3 in the Jake Silver series.
By Jere D. James
Moonlight Mesa Associates, 2011

U.S. Deputy Marshal Jake Silver heads into Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains in search of his nemesis, Johnny Geiger. The marshal is thirsty for revenge after Geiger’s kidnapping and brutal beating of Silver’s fiancée. The shoot-out is more than the marshal bargained for, however, and if not for the assistance of the renegade Apache, Nantan Lupan, the marshal’s outcome would be fatal.

The last book in this series ended with the kidnapping of Betsy, Silver’s fiancée, leaving readers desperate for the publication of this book so they could find out what happened next. As expected this story begins a short time after the excellent cliff-hanger ending of the previous book.

Although there is plenty of action this story is very much a study of human feelings and how people react to them. Silver promises to stay with Betsy and immediately leaves to track down, and kill, Geiger. Betsy then starts to question her relationship with Silver, this being further complicated as a new man starts to show an interest in her. Silver himself begins to have doubts about being tied down in marriage, and the reader will soon be wondering if Betsy and Silver will still be an item by the end.

Nantan Lupan was introduced in the previous book and he too struggles with questions to which path his life should follow. He wants a new life but can he break away from his strong bonds of friendship with Silver? Maybe after the deadly shoot-out in the Canyon of Death this can be resolved, if either of them are still alive?

These questions and many others, along with Jere D. James superb storytelling, hooked me instantly. Answers to some questions came quickly, often leading to more. With Betsy giving up hope for Silver’s return, she agrees to marry another. Silver,  unaware of this heads for home, will he arrive in time to bring a halt to this marriage? Will Betsy still want him if he does get home safely? What of the new man in Betsy’s life? Will he accept losing her gracefully or will guns be drawn in anger?

This book does bring to a conclusion a number of story threads that link this book with the first two in the series, and, although not ending with such a dramatic cliff-hanger as the previous book, does leave the reader wanting to see where the next story will take the surviving characters, Jere D. James having neatly planted the seed for the next with mention of a man known as the High Country Killer (which is the title of the next book). Let’s hope it isn’t too long before that book is published!

The book also contains a number of black and white photographs taken by Jere D. James of the location the book is set in and these really help the reader visualise the harsh, yet stunning beauty of the Chiricahua Mountains.

Friday 15 July 2011

Crooked Foot's Gold

By Greg Mitchell
A Black Horse Western from Hale, July 2011

Jim and Barney are hot on the trail of a thief when they arrive at White Rock but they soon find themselves drawn into the mysterious community, which is claimed by white gold-seekers and restless tribes alike.

Then, a dying renegade tells them the story of Crooked Foot’s gold and the pair find themselves being hunted down without knowing why. Now they must venture into dangerous territory seeking answers … and who knows what perils await them?

This book starts in the thick of the action, an Indian attack on a surveying party which results in there only being one survivor. The man Jim and Barney are hunting could be one of the dead. Although their quest may now be over leaving White Rock could be difficult as the Sioux are killing everyone who attempts to do so. Yet something doesn’t seem quite right, and it’s these puzzles that grab the readers’ attention and won’t let go until these mysteries are solved.

The book is filled with great characters, Jim and Barney themselves, ex-army scout Zeke, Angela Brophy -   whose paintings may well provide some of the answers to the mysteries – and, not forgetting, her dog, Cassius. There’s plenty of gun action that is well described, often providing tense reading. Everything comes together well, leading to a neat ending, that, even though we don’t read about it, we know for one man justice will finally catch up with him.

This is the third book I’ve read by Greg Mitchell – this is a pseudonym used by Paddy Gallagher – and once more it’s left me eager to read more of his work.

Crooked Foot’s Gold is officially released on July 29th but is available now from the usual Internet booksellers.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Western Fiction News

With the surge of ebooks finding their way onto Kindle and like devices, here's a couple that are worth considering as additions to your collection:

by Terry Coffey

A tenderfoot, who calls himself Ulysses Noman, is searching for outlaw Bart Matthews. Noman says he’s an attorney looking to pass some news to Matthews. Matthews wonders if this stranger who seems out of his element, is in fact a bounty hunter looking to turn him in?

This short story is well written and is told in the first person from the viewpoint of Bart Matthews. The tale offers some mystery into the true identity of the stranger; is he who he says he is or a bounty hunter as Matthews fears? This question is the hook that kept me reading to find out the answer. Events didn’t turn out quite how I thought they would and the ending provided a neat conclusion that left me hoping Terry Coffey might try his hand at a full length western novel someday.

Tenderfoot is available on Kindle now for just $1.38.


by Chap O’Keefe

As dangerous as unstable dynamite . . . that was Sheriff Ross Kemp's assessment of Jessica Blackwood. She was darkly beautiful, and she was married to the richest rancher around. Mysterious notes, a bizarre accusation and the bushwhack murder of her madly jealous husband shoved Kemp into the biggest trouble of his life.Tried and convicted on a trumped-up charge, Kemp was sentenced to ten years of living hell in the state pen.His only hope was Jessica's lovely stepdaughter, Ellen, but as Ellen began to uncover the truth she fell into deadly danger from Orson Rymer, gambler and blackmailer, and Snake McClay, evil-minded gunslick. It looked as if justice would never be done!

This book is on offer at the giveaway price of $0.99 (£0.86). Look out for a review soon.

Chap also has two other ebooks available: Liberty and the Law Badge, and Misfit Lil Cheats the Hangrope.

Anyone remember a series that came out in the early 1970's about "Buffalo Hunter O'Brien" by Ralph Hayes? All those who've said yes will be pleased to know that O'Brien is about to ride the trail once more in a book to be published by Hale under their Black Horse Western banner on October 31st 2011.

by Ralph Hayes

When buffalo hunter O'Brien is wrongly accused of rustling by ranch hands and has to kill the rancher's son to defend himself from hanging, he thought his life had already taken a bad turn. However, within a day's ride from that violent scene, he happens upon Sarah Carter. Together they follow the dangerous road to Fort Revenge, where Sarah is due to wed Jake Latimer. It becomes clear that Latimer is not the man for Sarah, but can O'Brien save Sarah as well as dealing with his own troubles from the past...

December 2011 will see the publication of The Trailsman #362: Range War, and this book carries the first in another cover style change for the series; the eighth by my reckoning.

Saturday 9 July 2011

The Storm Family Saga #2

By Matt Chisholm
Panther, 1971

Eight young men rode homewards, home to Texas, across the rolling Kansas plains – right through the heart of Indian country. It didn’t worry them. Then they rescued a beautiful girl from the Indians. And that meant they also had to take on the ruthless killers who’d trailed her from the East.

But Clay Storm wanted this woman. Wanted her bad enough to face a vicious shoot-out with the killers. The showdown came in a grim contest of guns, wits and courage where Death was the only judge…

This is the second of a nine book series written by English author Peter Watts under the pseudonym of Matt Chisholm, an author perhaps better known for his McAllister series.

Hard Texas Trail is a well written, fast moving, traditional western that is all action from the opening page to the last. It is a well told story that holds the readers attention with ease. This book once more shows that one of Peter Watts greatest strengths is his ability to create believable characters. People who are flawed, make mistakes, that see them finding themselves in very dangerous situations from which very few – including the heroes – come out in one piece, if indeed they do manage to escape death. They are tough men and women who don’t back down even if the odds are against them.

The Storm series sees a different member of the family being the focus of each book, each tale being a self-contained story that links with previous books. For instance this tale was set up at the end of the first in the series, and takes place shortly after that book.

Perhaps not the best book I’ve read carrying the Matt Chisholm name, but certainly not the worst. Hard Texas Trail should appeal to all who like tough tales about hard men, where you know good will win over evil, yet you are never quite sure as to who will be left alive, on either side, at the end.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Exciting Western, June/July 1960

British Edition Vol. 5  - #7


Coon Hunter by Ben Frank
     Gummy Wilson always figured nothing was trickier than a coon – till he met up with a killer and a spunky red-haired gal.

An Old Cold Trail by H.A. DeRosso
     Ernie had paid for his crime, and figured it was time now for someone else to do a little paying.

Freight-Line Killer by Garold Hartsock
     Keen wits are sometimes better than blazing guns to trip a killer.

Purple Whisky by Frank Scott York
     Lou Fox knew all about redeye but – Purple Whisky – was a bay horse of a different colour!

Featured Novelette:
The Killer Sheriff by George Kilrain
     To young Hod Wesley, a lawman was only as big as his gun was fast. He had to learn that it took a bigger man not to use a gun at all.

Published before I was born, this pulps’ stories are written by writers that are mainly unknown to me. I say mainly because I do recognised one of the above names, that of H.A. DeRosso. So I approach these pulps with an open mind, not having any idea as to what to expect.

I think this is the first pulp where I’ve actually read all the stories from beginning to end. I found them all to be of a fairly consistent quality, and not to heavy on the ‘old West lingo’ I often find difficult to make sense of without having to re-read the sentences. I was also surprised to find that two of these stories, Coon Hunter, and Purple Whisky, contain a lot of humour, in fact the latter is a comedy out right.

Did I have a favourite story in this issue? Yes, two in fact, that are both very different to each other, these being Purple Whisky and An Old Cold Trail. The story I liked least was the featured novelette: The Killer Sheriff.

The great thing about these old pulps is that I find them a great way to try authors new to me, and I often discover one or two that I’d like to read more by. In this case there are three I’ll be hunting through my collection to see if I have more by them, these being Ben Frank, H.A. DeRosso, and Frank Scott York. If anyone has any info on the first and third of these then please add it to comments.