Tuesday, 30 November 2021


Number 22 of 31
By Rory Black
Hale, 2015

Infamous bounty hunter Iron Eyes has the scent of his prey in his flared nostrils and is determined to add yet another notch to the gun grip of his famed Navy Colt.

Iron Eyes never quits even when the odds are stacked against him.

Yet the closer he gets to where he knows the outlaw is holed up, the more guns are turned upon him. Refusing to submit to the lethal lead of the men paid to stop his progress, Iron Eyes forges on toward Cheyenne Falls and the fate he knows awaits him.

This is a fairly straight-forward track them down and kill them story. Having some gunmen waiting in Cheyenne Falls to take out Iron Eyes ensures there’s plenty of opportunity for some lively gunplay. There is also a twist in that someone has hired a professional gunfighter, Drako, to come to town and kill the bounty hunter and the author keeps the reason for this a secret from Iron Eyes and the reader until he is good and ready to reveal it.

Rory Black writes in a visual way, his words playing out like images on the silver screen, more in a spaghetti western style than those of John Ford. Black’s stories are as brutal as those European westerns, bleak, savage and full of stylish scenes. Iron Eyes isn’t a particularly likeable character, but he does command attention and you will want to know what happens to him next. Followers of this series will also be aware of Squirrel Sally, the girl who follows Iron Eyes and calls him her betrothed, even though Iron Eyes does his best to get rid of her. Sally has a part to play in this tale too and provides the occasional lighter moment to the story. 

Like the other books in the series, The Tomb of Iron Eyes is a quick and entertaining read and left me wanting to read more.

This beautifully produced hardback book might be hard to find these days as they were aimed at libraries and rarely made it onto the shelves of bookstores. They do turn up second-hand though. Piccadilly Publishing are putting this series out as ebooks, and The Tomb of Iron Eyes is number 21 in their run, for reasons unknown they’ve skipped a book. 

Rory Black is a pseudonym used by Michael D. George. 

The cover art doesn’t illustrate anything that happens in the story. Hale tended to use generic art for the majority of their westerns, something I always thought was a shame as they had hundreds of paintings to choose from.


Anders Nilsson said...

Thanks for this interesting post! And now something else. Does anyone happen to know the names of the lead characters in the story of this book: Matt Chisholm, The proud horseman, 1963, Mayflower. I've not been able to find out anything about it. It has seemingly not been translated to any other language. As I'm working on a Peter Watts western bibliography, it would be nice to know more about this rare title. All the Best - Anders Nilsson, Sweden.

Steve M said...

Hi Anders,

Scroll down the front page a bit and you'll see an About Me section. You can email me directly through there as I have the book in question so can send you an answer that way. I have all of Peter Watts' westerns (at least those in Emglish).