Monday, November 18, 2019

The Durango Kid - The Fighting Frontiersman (1946)

An okay B-Western that doesn't compare very favorably with the Roy Rogers or Hopalong Cassidy films. Grizzled prospector named Cimmaron stumbles upon the long lost Santa Ana's treasures then blows it by tipping off a saloon girl named Trixie who then tips off a gang of criminals that kidnap Cimmaron and hold him hostage until he spills the beans about where the treasure is hidden. Trixie then inexplicably sends a note to Ranger Steve Reynolds, played by Charles Starrett, and his sidekick Smiley Burnette, oddly played by an actor by the same name, to rescue Cimmaron. Steve has a secret identity of the Durango Kid and during his rescue attempt he changes into a Durango Kid outfit and pretty much continues what he’s been doing. Not sure why he feels he needs an inconvenient secret identity. I could have done with less musical numbers, less wooden acting from Starrett, and less of the stooge-like antics of Smiley.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Harry Whittington Movie Tie-Ins - Ebooks

Harry Whittington wrote a couple of movie tie-ins that I'm aware of - "Charro!" and "Temptations of Valerie". I created ebooks of both of these from scans that I found online. I'm pretty sure that the movie studios that own the rights to these are not interested in them ever being reprinted, so here they are. In the name of preservation. Enjoy!

Charro! by Harry Whittington - EPUB
Charro! by Harry Whittington - MOBI

Temptations of Valerie by Harry Whittington - EPUB
Temptations of Valerie by Harry Whittington - MOBI

Writer Paul Bishop has a terrific post on his blog regarding Charro! and the eye-catching Ron Lesser cover art called Wandering Down The Rabbit Hole that I highly recommend reading.

The movie "Valerie" can be found on YouTube by searching for "ekberg valerie". The description is in Spanish although the movie is English.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Review: Mountain Girl

Mountain Girl Mountain Girl by Cord Wainer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mountain Girl, an inexplicable title, tells the story of hard-boiled Rick Case who arrives in a remote mining town in Colorado to run a friend’s general store and is immediately beaten to a pulp. It turns out that the mine is owned by a cruel and ruthless woman named Crystal who has control of the whole town. Rick quickly falls in love with Jan, the wife of the mine boss, who he accidentally kills. Turn out that Crystal is illegally exporting uranium from the mine and an FBI agent named Wilson is quietly observing while posing as a tourist. Since Rick has the gumption to stand up to Crystal she decides that he would be a fine new mine boss, and Rick takes the job in order to assist the FBI investigation. This sets the stage for a terrific thriller with Crystal becoming increasingly psychotic and Rick playing both sides while keeping his romance with Jan intact. A unique and engaging story from the dependable Thomas B. Dewey writing as Cord Wainer.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Gun Feud by W. C. Tuttle - Ebooks

An out-of-print W. C. Tuttle book that I converted into ebook format from a scan. It's not a Hashknife Hartley and Sleepy Stevens novel. All the cowboy lingo durn near busted my spell checker! My short review is below:

Bookkeeper Orville Woodruff receives an 15 year old letter indicating that he is the heir to a lost gold mine in Arizona. He quits his job and travels to the location where he meets the lovely Norma and crime-solving cowboys Micky and Spook. Tuttle weaves a complex plot with kidnappers, cattle rustlers, Mexican bandits, gold mines, and a wealth of interesting characters. A fun read with a hard-boiled mystery plot and plenty of humorous touches, sort of a cozy cowboy mystery.

Gun Feud by W. C. Tuttle - PDF
Gun Feud by W. C. Tuttle - EPUB
Gun Feud by W. C. Tuttle - MOBI

*** Bonus: Here are two old radio shows with narration by W.C. himself.

Hashknife and Sleepy in The Double Cross and The Range War from 1950.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Review: The Legend of Roxy Doyle

The Legend of Roxy Doyle The Legend of Roxy Doyle by J.R. Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book in the Gunsmith Adult Western spin-off series tells the origin story of Roxy Doyle, a.k.a Lady Gunsmith, a pistol-packing beauty in search of her estranged bounty hunter father. The author does a nice job of portraying the young Roxy as being a bit rough around the edges, in contrast with the mature Roxy, a polished and confident gunslinger as he navigates the two timelines that make up the novel. The dialog driven narrative will be familiar to readers of the Gunsmith books, although the female perspective only serves to make the three required sex scenes seem even more nonessential and awkward. I really liked the surprise appearances of Belle Starr, and Frank and Jesse James and how they were integrated into the story. The plotting, pacing, and dialog are the author’s strong points and they are on display in this short novel making it hard to put down. An easy and entertaining read.

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

College Man by John D. MacDonald - PDF

I came across a John D. MacDonald story that I had never seen before in a scan of the February 1958 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. It turns out that it has never been anthologized, so pretty much lost for 60 plus years. A little OCR work, editing, and conversion to PDF resulted in the file linked below. This is a great little story that really shows JDMs skills at creating instantly likable characters, and his uncanny ability to ratchet up the tension.

College Man by John D. MacDonald PDF

Here is the original scanned images in CBZ format

Review: Murder Mistress

Murder Mistress Murder Mistress by Robert Colby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A superb take on the heist theme telling the tale of Scott Daniels, an unemployed TV announcer with an alcohol problem who accidentally finds clues to a bank robbery and decides to investigate in order to claim the reward money. While Scott and his wife Myra start collecting clues to solve the crime, the clever couple who have absconded with all of the hold-up money struggle to keep stiffed partner, the brutish Roy, from getting his share. The set up and caper is told in flashbacks and in nice detail. Well plotted and expertly paced. Another page turner and highly recommended for anyone that enjoys a good heist story.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Review: Mourn the Hangman

Mourn the Hangman Mourn the Hangman by Harry Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Steve Blake, a private eye assigned to investigate a corrupt businessman’s South American operations returns home to find his wife murdered, an assumed frame job. Blake goes vigilante in a relentless one-man pursuit of his wife’s killer which puts him at odds with the police, his detective partner, and the powerful businessman’s entourage. A nice take on the “guy on the run seeking revenge” theme that keeps the pages turning. The dialog and prose is strong, although the plot relies a lot on coincidence, with Blake always showing up just in time to find someone just killed. A very entertaining, albeit somewhat flawed, page burner.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Review: Chicago Wipe-Out

Chicago Wipe-Out Chicago Wipe-Out by Don Pendleton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bolan arrives in Chicago, a hotbed of mob activity, and vows destruction of the Mafia families that control the corrupt city. Rather than battle the mob directly, Bolan uses the information provided by a man who had researched the corruption, a man who paid a steep price when his life was devastated by revenge, to identity and manipulate the families into a war with each other. It was interesting that the the book focused more on the Mafia characters than Bolan himself, and that the obligatory love interest, a dancer named Jimi, was merely a minor character. Another very good entry in the long-running series.

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Review: The Road's End

The Road's End The Road's End by Albert Conroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Albert Conroy is a pseudonym of Marvin H. Albert, a writer of many fine crime and western novels. For a while in the middle 1900s there were plenty of movies and books with an amnesia storyline, where someone gets bonked on the head and doesn’t remember anything. In this short novel, Dan Ginger, a philandering jackass, wakes up after being left for dead with no recall of what happened to him and soon is accused of the murder of a young woman that he has been fooling around with. Dan has to try to solve the murder, which turns out to be a complex web of people and events that he needs to piece together without the aid of his memory. This is truly an excellent novel with razor sharp plotting and pacing, and many vibrant characters. Best amnesia book I’ve ever read. An easy five stars.

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