Thursday 9 March 2023


Book 2 of 10
By Steven G. Lawrence
Ace Books, 1961

For Tom Slattery, the Rio Grande country was bad news. His mother had died here and he had now come to bury his father and brother beside her in Boot Hill. After that he was going to clear out.

But on the Mexican side of the river, a revolution was in the air and someone was running guns across the Rio to the rebels. Unexpectedly Slattery became a witness to the smuggling. 

Slattery thought the law would side with him. The questions he answered too late were who was behind the law – and who was holding the carbine that was aimed at his back? 

Tom Slattery first appeared in this Ace double book, it is backed with the first book in the series, Slattery. It’s interesting to note that Ace called the author Steven G. Lawrence and did so on the next two Ace doubles that featured Slattery tales too. Subsequent reprints and new stories saw the authors name become Steven C. Lawrence. Bullet Welcome for Slattery had its title shortened when reprinted and became Bullet Welcome. Steven G/C Lawrence is a pseudonym used by Lawrence Agustus Murphy.

Discovering a wagon in trouble and the following disaster that befalls it is what exposes the rifles it is carrying. A quick exchange of gunfire sees the wagon driver dead and Slattery wounded. Slattery is helped by a woman and her young son; the latter having witnessed the shooting and having seen the crates of guns too. The gunrunners are soon set on killing both Slattery and the young boy.

The rest of the fast-moving plot revolves around a siege of a jailhouse where Slattery and the sheriff are holding one of the gunrunners prisoner. The gang want him back and Slattery dead, then they plan to kill the boy and they won’t stop at anything to achieve all their aims. There’s plenty of tough talking and gunplay that play out in some tense scenes. There’s also a twist as to who’s side one of the characters is on, but that wasn’t hard to see coming before the author revealed it.

Bullet Welcome for Slattery is a traditional western that played out pretty much as I expected it would. The only downside was the number of typos the book contained. Some of these made me go back and reread a paragraph to understand it properly as they mixed speech from different characters making it hard to work out who said what and to whom. Overlooking these spelling and layout mistakes, the book proved to be a quick and entertaining read and I look forward to reading the third one soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting about the G./C. thing. Wonder what the middle initial was intended to stand for. I assume it was always meant to be C. and was perhaps misread by the publisher, but considering it was a pseudonym I find it odd the change was made.

Anyway, I'm currently reading Day of the Comancheros, a later instalment of the Slattery series (this one by Steven C. Lawrence). Quite an enjoyable read; I'd like to read the whole series. Surprised to find so little about the author online; there was only a very short Wikipedia entry for Steven C. Lawrence in Swedish. Apparently he was a school teacher, and is still alive at the age of 101.