Thursday, December 10, 2020

Jubal Cade 9: Days of Blood by Charles R. Pike

Jubal Cade 9: Days of Blood 
by Charles R. Pike (Angus Wells)
1977 Chelsea House

Trained to heal - born to kill! Jubal Cade is a bowler wearing doctor who is seeking vengeance for his dead wife, earning money to support treatment for his blind adopted son along the way.  There's a lot packed into this slim volume.  Bandits slaughter an entire town before hijacking a train.  There's a train shootout before it crashes in the snow, leaving Cade to lead survivors through the frozen wilderness ahead of a pack of starving wolves.  He runs into an old enemy in town while he takes a job escorting a rich widow back to Texas.

We get a dynamite siege of a church in a town run by fundamentalist, Indian attacks, a range war, naked hooker with a shotgun, sniper attack, ending in a final hand on hand duel.  Your standard western this size maybe has two set pieces, where this burns through several.  The sense of scale adjusts seemlessly, jumping between shootouts with a half dozen toughs to a one-on-one challenge, maintaining the sense of danger throughout.

The series is similar to Edge (it was originated by the same author, Terry Harknett), but with the puns and anatomical details toned down a notch. Cade is a bit more heroic than the rest of the Piccadillys, in that he occasionally goes out of his way to help others as opposed to being a complete psychopath.

Paperback from AbeBooks

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