Thursday 31 August 2023


Book 8 0f 22
By James A. Muir
Cover art by Colin Backhouse
Sphere Books, 1979

The Kiowas slaughtered Amos and Eliza Marker without pity. But they took young Jeb, raised him and taught him to be a warrior. To live like a Kiowa. Think like a Kiowa. Kill like a Kiowa.

When Matthew Gunn, known and feared as Breed, was called by rich businessman Ty Horn, he didn’t know that Horn was Eliza Marker’s brother. Or that Horn had some crazy sentimental idea about saving Jeb from the Indians after all this time. Even when he knew, he didn’t care. The rich white man was offering a whole heap of money for the ‘rescue’. And soon Breed had a debt of honour to be settled with the Kiowas – a debt to be paid strictly in torture, destruction and death . . .

I remember really liking this book when it was first published. I’ve read it a couple of times between then and now. Rereading it again, I found my enjoyment hadn’t diminished in any way. I particularly like how Horn is stubborn, or just doesn’t listen when Gunn explains how Jeb won’t want to return to the life of a white man, won’t even remember his uncle. This can only finish with an unhappy ending for some of the characters, can’t it?

Once the man known as Breed gives his word, he’ll put his life on the line to fulfil his promise. There’s plenty of times this will happen as he tracks down Jeb, now known as Mahka. The action scenes are described in gory detail, adding to the brutal harshness of the story.

James A. Muir is a pseudonym for British author Angus Wells and, like with the other novelists now known as the Piccadilly Cowboys, his books contain lots of references to people in the trade at that time and to western book and/or movie characters. Blood Debt is dedicated to Nick Tryhorn, so it’s obvious where the businessman’s name came from. Breed teams up with a man called John Havee – another of the Piccadilly Cowboys is author John Harvey. We also find characters called Hedges with thinly disguised references to another western hero who was born with that name, although he is mostly known as Edge. Breed also briefly meets a man called Ethan and his companion who seem to be searching for something or someone. Another of John Wayne’s movie characters also gets a mention, Nathan Brittles from the film She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Whenever I read a Piccadilly Cowboy western, I look forward to seeing who will get mentioned during the story, real or fictional, as it always makes me grin.

I must also comment on the excellent cover art done by Colin Backhouse. He, and others who fronted the U.K.’s westerns at this time, must have worked closely with the authors as the paintings more often than not illustrate a scene from the story, as is the case here.

If you’re a fan of the Breed series, Angus Wells, the Piccadilly Cowboys, or just tough savage westerns, then this is a book you won’t want to miss. These old paperback series are not the easiest to find these days, and if you do, they are often priced ridiculously high, so you might be pleased to discover that Piccadilly Publishing are putting them out as ebooks at very good prices. Breed 8: Blood Debt was published in ebook form this month.

Tuesday 29 August 2023


By William W. Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone
Pinnacle Books, June 2023

In the world of criminal lawbreakers in Laramie County, Lucian Clay was king. He terrorized the locals, robbed every business in the territory, and ruled the place with a merciless iron fist. Thankfully he’s behind bars now – along with a load of other prairie rats – thanks to Laramie’s new sheriff, Buck Trammel. Unfortunately, Trammel can only enforce the law while others specialize in working around it: namely lawyers. And no lawyer is more crooked or corrupt than the belly-crawling snake Clay hired to get him out. By any means possible . . . 

Their breakout plan is simple: The lawyer will wait until midnight. Then he’ll break in to the county jail to bust his client out. He’ll scale the walls, kill the guards, ambush the deputies, and release the prisoner. There’s just one catch: As soon as Clay is freed, the other convicts want out, too. Which sparks total chaos in the prison, creates a distraction for Clay – and unleashes the worst blood-soaked night of murderous mayhem Buck Trammel has ever witnessed. And will never forget. If he survives . . . 

The violent jailbreak is the opening part of this book, which leads to Trammel and two others riding in pursuit of the lawyer and Clay. Back in Laramie political wrangling takes place to have the lawman removed from his job. The lawyer, Bessler, has plans for Clay’s money, and neither of these two men trust the other. A stagecoach crew also get mixed up in this deadly chain of events ensuring there is never a dull moment in this fast-moving tale.

The author plots well, describes the action sequences in visual prose. His dialogue is believable. His characters tough and single-minded. Nothing will stop them achieving their aims. Trammel and his very small posse won’t have it all their own way either and will have to suffer greatly as they attempt to track their quarry down.

I’ve enjoyed the previous four books in this series, and this one was just as gripping as those. It’s hard to say more without including major spoilers, so I won’t, other than to add that this tale is a must read for western fans. You don’t need to have read any of the previous books to enjoy this one, for there’s enough backstory mentioned to explain what has gone before. In ways this is also a new beginning for Trammel, as sheriff of a new town. 

It’s also interesting to note that the stagecoach business is called The Frontier Overland Company and that is the title of a new series the Johnstone’s are launching later this year, presumably written by the same author of this book. So, for me, that means I have a new series to look forward to as well as another Buck Trammel book that should be out in December. 

Saturday 12 August 2023

Slocum Bibliography

Over the last few of months, I’ve been helping Anders N. Nilsson compile a bibliography on Jake Logan’s Slocum series. 

The Slocum series began in 1975 and continued into 2014. There were 430 regular sized books, many of which we reprinted a number of times, and 17 giant editions. 

The bibliography names many of the authors who wrote behind the pseudonym of Jake Logan. It also details which books were reprinted and how many times, including foreign publications. There is other data about the books too.

If anyone can supply information that will help fill in the gaps, or provide us with corrections, then please comment below.

You can find the bibliography here: The Bibliography

Images of all the covers can be found here: Book Covers