Sunday, June 16, 2019

Review: Texas Vigilante

Texas Vigilante Texas Vigilante by Bill Crider
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The sequel to the outstanding revenge classic Outrage at Blanco is just as captivating, telling the story of Ellie Taine, the avenger in the first book, now threatened by a psychotic escaped prisoner named Angel Ware who is looking for revenge against those that Ellie loves the most. Ellie now knows what achieving revenge can do to a person, and the shift in perspective is a nice touch. The late Bill Crider was a marvelous author, a master craftsman of writing, and the short novel is perfectly paced with many memorable characters and dialogue. The last third of the book is relentless and impossible to put down. It saddens me that there will never be another Ellie Taine book. This book, and well as OUTRAGE AT BLANCO, are both highly recommended.

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Review: Bullet Bridge

Bullet Bridge Bullet Bridge by Gordon Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Sergeant in this series is named Mahoney - brutish, crude, horny, and most importantly a skilled warrior in this seventh entry in the historical WWII fiction book by Len Levinson writing as Gordon Davis. The book takes place after the allied victory in Metz, during the assault on the Nazi occupied city of Saarlautern. Although Mahoney is kind of an asshole he is charismatic and noble enough to be likable, which keeps the reader engaged in the fast military action that includes plenty of colorful and lewd dialogue. A couple of unfortunate sex scenes could have been left out as they bordered uncomfortably on assault. Levinson does a great job of not glorifying war with his portrayals of inept leadership, untimely deaths, cowardice, and loss. A fine book for those that enjoy military action books and don’t mind lots of gore and profanity.

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Review: Terminal Velocity

Terminal Velocity Terminal Velocity by Alan Bomack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Terminal Velocity is the middle book of an important transitional trilogy in the “Bolanverse” and is the first of the “Super Bolan” books, a whopping 380 pages, more the twice the size of a traditional Mack Bolan book. I was dubious that any author, Alan Bomack - a pseudo for Davide Wade in this work, could pull off an action/adventure book of this length but he handles it with aplomb, weaving three stories into a seamless tale of international espionage. The major plot arc tells the story of Bolan stealing a prototype Soviet helicopter in Afghanistan and the KGB effort to successfully frame the big guy for a high-profile assassination, stranding him overseas, on the run from the law, alone in his effort to clear himself, and still reeling from the devastating attack on his home base in the first book of the trilogy. A fine successor to the excellent Day of Mourning.

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

TWENTIETH CENTURY WESTERN WRITERS

TWENTIETH CENTURY WESTERN WRITERS published in 1991 by editor Geoff Sadler manages to insult both Adult Western readers and writers in the preface to the second edition.

"The final transformation-perversion might be a better word-of the Western was the birth of the adult Western, known to the publishing industry as the "wicked" or "porno" Western. Time magazine had noted the existence of the type and called it by name in 1959 ("The American Morality Play," 30 March), but it really began to flourish in the 1970's. Its elements were brutality for its own sake and explicit sex in large quantities. The paperback editors discovered that there was a tremendous appetite for these commodities and began producing them for the mass market. Most of the books came in series named for the central character, and a house name was used for the author. Since titles in a given series appeared as often as once a month, a battery of writers was needed to tum them out. For money, established craftsmen toiled anonymously to give bloodthirsty or sex-starved readers what they wanted."

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Review: Coyote Courage

Coyote Courage Coyote Courage by Scott Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very solid and well written traditional western introducing Brock Clemons, a young man traveling the West by himself, in search of something that is explained much later in the book. Brock is not a typical gunslinger, more altruistic and sympathetic than violent. Supporting characters are well drawn, especially the love interest Sophie, the valiant boy Huck, and the main villain Kurt. A story told with enough tension to keep my interest, and a satisfying ending that neatly wrapped up the loose ends. My only qualm is that it runs a bit long after the climax and it can be a bit wordy at times.


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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Review: Boot Heel Range

Boot Heel Range Boot Heel Range by Edwin Booth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Edwin Booth was another respected author of pulp westerns who turned to paperback originals when the pulp market died. This early novel tells the story of a young rancher trying to fill his dead older brothers shoes in the eyes of his crippled father who fears losing the ranch, since he has little respect for his younger son’s ability to manage the ranch and lead a cattle drive. I like that the young man uses smarts instead of guns to dig himself out several perilous situations as a deadly range war brews and then bursts, throwing the cattle drive into turmoil. This book is really good. Too bad that Booth is virtually unknown these days. He's a fine writer.

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Review: Native Girl

Native Girl Native Girl by Harry Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coles can’t help falling for his best friend’s wife in this steamy tale of sexual obsession. The action takes place in pre-statehood Hawaii, a mysterious place filled with passion and sensuality that practically sweats off the pages, especially during the drunken luau where the fires burning between Coles and the seductive Lani reach their peak. As expected, everything goes horribly wrong in a hurry and Coles find himself trapped by the manipulative Lani as things continue to spiral out of control. Another fine page-turner from Harry Whittington. Recommended.

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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Review: The Hostaged Island

The Hostaged Island The Hostaged Island by L.R. Payne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the series is conceptually strong, telling the story of a group of violent outlaw bikers working in cahoots with a rogue Soviet agent to capture and hold for hostage Catalina Island off the coast of southern California. The narrative shifts from the incursion of Able Team and their efforts to rescue the 1500 local residents of the island that are being held captive, the captives themselves plotting a rebellion against the bikers guarding them, and a small band of locals that have evaded the outlaws and are planning their own attack. Tightly plotted and fast moving, this a wild ride of a book, although some may be turned off by the copious amounts of violence and gore inherent in these types of books.

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Review: Hell In Heaven

Hell In Heaven Hell In Heaven by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Dead Man: Hell in Heaven finds Matt Cahill on the road where he finds himself trapped in a mysterious village where he is hailed as a hero, a role that Matt is unwilling to accept - he only wants to get the hell out of there. A linear, albeit wacky plot keeps the book moving at a nice pace. It bothered me that Matt was oblivious to the strategy of playing along with the hero role until he found a means of escaping, but that would have trashed the plot which already has its share of holes. These books have faults, however they have all been quick and entertaining reads. I’ll continue to read them when I’m in the mood for bite-sized horror novellas.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

My Baseball Simulation Dice Game

When I was a kid and crazy about baseball I used to spend a lot of time playing statistically accurate baseball dice games that were based on actual baseball stats, both current players and players in the past. Bear in mind that this was well before this type of thing was available with computer or video games. Anyway, I found last year's MLB stats online and wrote a program to create a game with statistically accurate player cards for every 2018 MLB team. Three six-sided dice are required to play. Pitching is boring and messes up the player stats so no pitching is involved. Here's a link to the 2018 player cards.