Wednesday 31 March 2021


Number 11 of 25
By Jon Sharpe
Cover art by Jerome Podwil
Signet, January 1991

Canyon O’Grady was wearing the uniform of a full-bird colonel. This masquerade was part of the big redheaded U.S. special agent’s mission to find out what was going wrong with the Fourth Cavalry Regiment in Texas.

Someone was giving the rampaging Comanches government-issue guns…somebody was giving the troopers a bloody taste of hell…and somebody was going to pay full price for murder when O’Grady found his target and pulled the trigger….

The gun problem is just one plot thread in this fast-paced read. Another being the health of the Colonel Colton, commander of Fort Johnson and the Fourth Cavalry – O’Grady’s assignment being to discover if Colton is fit enough to remain in charge. Colton has ambitions to become a General, and believes he has to prove himself by leading his men into battle to make this happen. Unfortunately, he’s been making some rash decisions or none at all, and these could prove to be fatal to both him and his men.

There are some terrific battle sequences in this tale, both with the Comanches and the gunrunners. Most of the story, though, revolves around O’Grady’s investigation, his attempts to discover who is selling the army’s guns and also trying to find out who is plotting to assassinate Colonel Colton. The Canyon O’Grady series falls under the banner of adult westerns, so there are also some explicit sex scenes too. There is little in the way of surprises as the author makes the reader aware of who is doing what but following O’Grady’s struggle to unveil the truth makes for entertaining reading.

Jon Sharpe is a pseudonym behind which a number of authors wrote, in this case I believe the author to be Chet Cunningham. If you’re a fan of Cunningham’s Pony Soldiers series you might be interested to know that when O’Grady is discussing tactics with Colton, he describes the exact method that Lightning Troop use in the Pony Soldier books.

Saturday 27 March 2021


by Lee Morgan

Armed with a custom-built .70 caliber rifle, he is the law. To his friends, he is many things – a fighter, a lover, a legend. To his enemies, he is only one thing – the most dangerous man they have ever known…

Lee Morgan is a pseudonym behind which a variety of well-known western authors wrote this adult series. The first book being written by Giles Tippette, the second by James Reasoner, the third by Robert Vaughan, the fourth and sixth by David Jacobs. The fifth book by either Robert Vaughan or Charlie McDade. The first book appeared in June 1995 and the last in April 1996.

Once upon a time, Boyd McMasters had everything a man could want: a pretty young wife, a profitable working ranch, and a sheriff’s badge in West Texas. But that man died when a band of ruthless outlaws slaughtered his wife. The new McMasters is an angry man, and no amount of whiskey or women can change that fact. He stumbles into Oklahoma City, a filthy, ragged shadow of his old self. In desperation, Boyd’s older brother enlists him in the Cattleman’s Protective Association – giving him authority over local lawmen and, if necessary, a license to kill. And as Captain Boyd McMasters sets out to deal the West his own brand of justice, a legend is born…

When the Cattleman Protective Association’s Captain Boyd McMasters finds out that his next job is a case of cattle rustling in the little town of Silver Creek, Texas, he figures he’s in for a vacation. He couldn’t have been more wrong. The town’s biggest ranch, the JF Connected, is missing four head, wouldn’t be a big deal if they weren’t four prize bulls, worth about twenty thousand dollars. That’s a mighty big chunk of change – enough to kill for, it seems, because someone keeps drawing a bead on McMasters every time he goes into town. But when McMasters figures out who’s behind it all, he’s gonna send them on a vacation…a permanent one.

The Cattleman’s Protective Association’s Captain Boyd McMasters is through taking prisoners. He already put Curly and Frank Dobbs behind bars in New Mexico for murder and rape. But they broke out of jail and killed a deputy. Then they robbed an Arizona bank of over fifty thousand dollars and kidnapped a young lady and her five-year-old daughter. Luckily, the bank is one of the Association’s clients, and that gives McMasters the authority to hunt them down. And when “Bullet Boyd” catches up with the Dobbs boys, he’s gonna put them somewhere they’ll never escape from – their graves…

Smoke Tree, Arizona, is a dusty little town where people live in fear. A cutthroat gang of cattle rustlers called the Rock House Boys runs roughshod over the local ranchers. They steal at will, and anyone who fights back ends up full of lead. The U.S. marshal and the town sheriff are either too yellow or too busy fighting each other to do anything about it. That’s why ranchers have the Cattleman’s Protective Association to help them. And that’s why the Association hires men like Captain Boyd McMasters to solve its problems. McMasters has decided that the Rock House Boys are through, and that cattle rustling is finished in Smoke Tree. He’s made his decision – now he’s gonna enforce it. And anyone who disagrees can take it up with his rifle, Big .70…

The Nueces Strip, down near the Rio Grande, is home to a bunch of cutthroats who put fear into the Rangers, the marshals, and even their own mamas. It’s also home to a hardworking rancher named Ben Allison who losing thousands of beeves to moonlight rustlers. Sent in by the Cattleman’s Protective Association, Captain Boyd McMasters gets a tip from two beautiful seƱoritas. Word is it ain’t the usual Strip debris that’s robbing Allison…it’s a powerful honcho across the border. This midnight cowboy has big pesos and mean hombres in his employ, but McMasters has the mighty .70 working for him…

Amid the beauty of Montana’s Blue Pine Hills is a horrifying display of human nature’s ugly side. A twisted bunch called the Hell Killers has turned the locals yellower than a mountain man’s teeth, and for good reason. Not entertained by rustling cattle, the gang kills and mutilates them before moving on to the ranchers, their families, and anyone else they come across. The Cattleman’s Protective Association is fighting back – they’ve put cash bounties on the Hell Killers’ heads, and have sent McMasters to collect. And he and his Big .70 are gonna see to it that they visit Hell real soon…

Cover art by Morgan Kane, who signed his name as M. Kane. This series artwork borrows heavily from the style fronting romance books at the same time these were published. The man not wearing a shirt was a requirement. Whether these covers shout western is for you to decide. Interesting to note that the books carry a banner stating McMasters comes from the creators of Longarm and that Morgan Kane painted the first covers for that series too.

Thursday 11 March 2021


By Ralph Cotton
Signet, April 2011

On the trail of four wanted men, Sherman Dahl, the hired gun known as the Teacher, finds his prey in the town of Kindred, New Mexico Territory. He kills all four in a saloon gunfight that leaves him wounded and in the care of soiled dove Sara Cayes.

Marshal Emerson Kern was hired to keep the peace in Kindred, and he doesn’t want Dahl’s kind in his town. His “gun law” forbids folks from carrying firearms, but Kern’s edict is far from altruistic. No one can stop Kern and his “deputies” – the only armed men in town – from extorting every cent the townsfolk earn. No one except Sherman Dahl…

This is the third book to feature Sherman Dahl, but in this tale, he doesn’t have a very large role to play, in fact he doesn’t appear that much at all. The story mainly follows Marshal Kern as he recruits more gunmen as his deputies and their attempts to enforce the gun law needed so they can begin to extort the townsfolk. Sounds like a simple plan, but the author has a few surprises in store as the various groups of “deputies” plot against each other. Then there are some townsfolk who begin to suspect the ulterior motives behind the gun law and refuse to hand over their weapons.

Murder, gunplay, threats and trying to convince the “lawmen” that someone is dead, all add twists and turns to this fast-moving tale. Dahl doesn’t want to get involved, wants to ride away since he’s completed his mission to take down the four wanted men. Soon though, he wants nothing more than to deal out his form of justice to three of Kern’s men when he discovers what they’ve done to a newly married couple and because of this he finds himself caught up in the town’s troubles.

Ralph Cotton has written another excellent book, a story that takes a hold of the reader from the opening scenes and demands you keep reading to find out how everything is resolved.

After the final gunsmoke has cleared I got the feeling this will be the last time Sherman Dahl will ride as his life as a fighting man seems to come to an end. Shame, as I found him to be an interesting and compelling character and his use of a bulletproof vest made him a little bit different to the majority of western heroes.