Thursday, July 1, 2021

Review: Longarm on the Humboldt

Longarm on the Humboldt Longarm on the Humboldt by Harry Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Longarm novels, and Adult Westerns in general, don’t seem to get much respect even though they were written by talented work-for-hire authors like Lou Cameron, Frank Roderus, James Reasoner, Pete Brandvold, and of course Harry Whittington who wrote this one, the 28th book in the series. Whittington would go on to write five more Longarm novels over the next couple of years, and although I have all of them, this is the first one that I’ve read. Whittington’s take on US Marshall Custis Long clearly pegs him as a hard-boiled detective, and the familiar tropes are here, getting beat up, captured, escaping, getting laid, etc. The story consists of two investigations, an assignment from the US Government, and another at the behest of a beautiful young blind woman who is seeking revenge. Some may say that Whittingtons best days were behind him in the 1970s, but I don’t think that's true. His descriptive prose is elegant without being wordy, the dialog crackles with authenticity and humor, and the plotting is, not surprisingly, exceptional. There is a Mormon subplot, which was entertaining enough, that smelled of padding that could have easily been cut to really make this a taut 200 pager, but only a minor quibble. Four stars.

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