Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Movie Review: The Eagle's Brood (1935)

The second film in the long running Hopalong Cassidy series is a really good one. It tells the story of little Pablo, the grandson of the notorious bandit El Toro. Pablo is being hunted by the outlaws that killed his parents in a robbery and is being hidden from them by a saloon dancer. El Toro conveniently saves Cassidy's life and in return Hoppy vows to find and return Pablo to him. Nicely plotted with a surprising number of disturbing deaths, a fair amount of gunplay, and an exciting fistfight, this entry is less juvenile than some of the latter films and is highly recommended for fans of old B-movie westerns.

Here is a link to the IMDb page

Friday, July 12, 2019

Review: The Buff Runners

The Buff Runners The Buff Runners by Jory Sherman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Gunn, the protagonist of this series, and his pal Jed Randall ride into San Antonio and sign up to crew for a buffalo hunt with John Masters, a long-time hunter who happens to have a beautiful wife and a couple of hot and horny daughters. A rival crew that is consumed by hated towards Masters intends to use any means necessary to sabotage the hunt in their favor. They are also infuriated by Gunn and vow vengeance. The author Jory Sherman writes wonderful prose and the first half of the book is terrific, however it meanders into a lengthy exposition of the buffalo hunt with a few sex scenes and a couple of sniper attacks tossed in that don’t add much value - effectively turning the second half into a real slog. The brutal buffalo killing is described in great detail with excessive gore that I found especially distasteful. An exciting climax pulls it out of the mire, but unfortunately too late for redemption.

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Review: Dead Man Running

Dead Man Running Dead Man Running by Stephen Mertz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The final entry in the significant, albeit unnamed, Executioner trilogy finds Mack Bolan, using his alias John Phoenix, back in the USA after being framed for a political murder by the KGB and still seeking vengeance from those responsible for the brutal assault on Stony Man Farm. He quickly discovers a conspiracy between the KGB and the Mafia, who are both after him, and Bolan racks up an impressive body count while uncovering clues that lead him to the very heights of the US government. The novel delivers the goods for the riveting spy/espionage action and the relentless violence. Mertz ties up the loose ends to a satisfying and surprising conclusion, and sets in motion a major transformation in the Mack Bolan mythology.

My reviews of the other two books in the trilogy:
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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Review: Hostage for a Hood

Hostage for a Hood Hostage for a Hood by Lionel White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Young newlywed Joyce has the misfortune of wrecking the get-away car of a quarter-million dollar armored car robbery and is taken hostage along with her poodle. This messes up the carefully planned heist and White expertly plots the criminal’s responses to the unexpected twists that keep popping up. There are no living witnesses to the crash and there is no obvious connection between her disappearance and the robbery, both events under investigation by the police, with a bias towards solving the big heist. The interjection of her loving and relentless husband Bart into the investigation helps to connect the dots leading to an explosive climax. This book works well as a crime caper story, hostage story, and a police procedural. White is a master of crime capers and adding the other elements raise this novel to more than a just a typical heist story. Another superior Gold Medal crime paperback.

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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.

Here are my reviews of the other two books in the trilogy:
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Sunday, May 19, 2019


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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