Frank O’Rourke – Battle Royal (1956)

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Western
Category: Dell
Date Finished: November 26, 2015

A very enjoyable, humorous western, with an army scout undercover in a mining town, exposing the gang that is robbing departing miners of their riches. The reveal of the ultimate mastermind is a bit obvious, but the wittiness of the hero, especially his asides in Spanish and French during his rousing address to the town, translated in full at the end, is very enjoyable. It is surprising that this is so unknown. Only two members on LibraryThing own this work, me and Ernest Hemingway. Great minds and all that.

Westerns2015-11-26

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William Hopson – High Saddle (1952)

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Western
Category: Set Outside Texas
Date Finished: November 25, 2015

A loner, a white boy raised by Indians, tracks the killer of his sister. They travel through the desert, down into Mexico, all the while dealing with Apaches and a gang of misfits who think there is a bounty on the killer. Can the gang cooperate enough to deal with the Apaches? Unlikely. This was quite well-done, with strong characters and action. Hopson writes quite well and the feeling is more of a 1970s hard-edged movie, rather than a 1952 hardcover western.

Westerns2015-11-25

Steven G. Lawrence – Longhorns North (1962)

AceF164-1 Longhorns North

Western
Category: About Cowboys
Date Finished: November 24, 2015

The other half of the Ace Double with Slattery’s Gun Says No, this one immediately following the preceding novel as Slattery is now on the cattle drive for which he was preparing in the last. A gang of rustlers attempts to steal the herd. Slattery must stop them while helping some ranchers who were first hit by the gang. Despite all the westerns about cowboys, there aren’t that many where they are actually on a cattle drive. Not deep, but fast reading and entertaining.
Westerns2015-11-24

Steven G. Lawrence – Slattery’s Gun Says No (1962)

AceF164-2 Slatterys Gun Says No

Western
Category: Transportation related
Date Finished: November 22, 2015

After the last one, the Silver Desert, being a literary western, this one is back to being a straight action story. It turns out that it isn’t very memorable either, as I appear to have read it before in 2007. Slattery arrives aboard a train that also carries a rich couple and their daughter. The daughter is soon captured and held for ransom, while Slattery is suspected of being in the gang and needs to free her to prove his own innocence. Adequate.

Westerns2015-11-22

Ernest Haycox – The Silver Desert (1935)

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Western
Category: Set in “Modern” Times
Date Finished: November 21, 2015

First published in 1935, this western is set in that time period, with the heroine, Lily Tennant, a brand-new movie star, escape to Reno for rest and relaxation, while trying to determine whether she wants fame and stardom or not. While there, she meets a strong-willed rancher, Tom Sebastian, who owns a vast ranch north of Reno. There isn’t a lot of typical western action here, but some examination of the themes of wilderness and independence vs. modern society. Naturally the wilderness wins out, though there are despicable characters in both realms. There is a sense of melancholy, especially in the early chapters, that I enjoyed. Definitely a much more literary western than most.
Westerns2015-11-21

Nelson Nye – Hideout Mountain (1962)

Ace Double F-150 Hideout Mountain - Nelson Nye 000

Western
Category: Borrowed
Date Finished: November 19, 2015

Although this is a short novel, half of an Ace Double with Nye’s Rafe, at only 91 pages, it was difficult to get into it. Perhaps there are too many characters for which there is not enough information, but I kept getting confused as to who was who. There isn’t all that much action to take up the space, but the characterization there is just doesn’t work. I don’t remember any similar difficulties with other Nye works I’ve read, so I assume that this was just an aberration.

Westerns2015-11-19

W.C. Tuttle – Tumbling River Range (1929)

WNC033 Tumbling River Range

Western
Category: Body of Water in Title
Date Finished: November 18, 2015

W.C. Tuttle is definitely unappreciated and one of my favorite writers. He is able to blend action, mystery, and humor in ways that many cannot, especially the humor. Tumbling River Range is a Hashknife and Sleepy mystery, but they don’t appear until 50 pages in. The characters and situation are all well drawn. The mystery doesn’t quite develop as well, but still a fun read.

Westerns2015-11-18