Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Rogue Cop by William P. McGivern

Rogue Cop 
by William P. McGivern
1954 Dodd, Mead & Company

A crooked cop tries to warn off his clean cop brother, who witnessed a murder the mob wants hushed up. There's a decent novella in here underneath the clich├ęs, padding, and moralizing. Gets dark when a gangster gets fed up with his moll lush, drops her off with some boys to be gang raped, then wants to get her back.

I'm not one that requires likeable main characters, but I also had no interest in this heel being redeemed. Could also do without the Irish priest.

Available from Amazon

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Darklings by Ray Garton

by Ray Garton
1985 Pinnacle

A black worm falls out of serial killer's nose as he dies in the emergency room. Soon after, people begin pursuing their darkest violent desires. Splatterpunk with monster b-movie roots. The killings are very dark, though this peaks in the middle, and a good balance here of how much of the premise to explain.

Available from Amazon

Monday, February 26, 2024

RCP: Intercontinental Title Match - Ray Garton vs William McGivern

Rage on the Page in a Cage: Intercontinental Title Match - Can William McGivern unseat powerhouse Ray Garton?

Friday, February 23, 2024

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Bounty Hunter 2: Blood Money by Aaron Fletcher

Bounty Hunter 2
Blood Money by Aaron Fletcher
1977, Leisure Books

Bounty Hunter Jake Coulter collects some bounties and beds some ladies. On the surface a generic adult western, slower paced and more repetitive than most, but I had a hard time getting a handle on this one. Slow moving, though more like Fletcher was taking his time rather than padding things out. We don't get anything resembling action until well into the book.

Most of the time it feels purposeful, the dreary tedium of frontier life punctuated by occasional violence and cruelty. The repetition reinforces this atmosphere, but certain specific story elements are repeated that it almost feels like two or three drafts strung in sequence. Grindingly realistic for the most part, then Coulter acts the white knight giving most of his money away to women in trouble.

Given what I know of Fletcher's other books, it almost feels like an historical novel set in the wild west more than a western, genre-wise. Well researched with little tidbits like - when you hang your dead bounty from a tree overnight so that critters don't chew his face off, make sure he's bent at an angle so when he freezes in place you can still mount him on a horse.

Like a lot of historical novels of the period, it gets dark. Dead bodies are kept in the icehouse until the ground thaws enough to bury them, and a grieving mother is desperate to keep her dead daughter away from the necrophiliac undertaker. An elderly man tells the story of drunks torturing his trained wolf to death. Coulter using a shovel to smash off the fingers of an elderly man he's trying to bury alive.

One of the most miserable books I've ever read. I'll cherish it always.

From Amazon

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Blaze of Glory 1: Death From on High by A.M. Van Dorn

Blaze of Glory 1
Death From on High
by A.M. Van Dorn 
2021, Cedar Ledge Publishing

A.M. Van Dorn is one of a few contemporary authors marketing their work as Adult Westerns. These are typically action based westerns with at least three graphic sex scenes shoehorned in, distinct from western romances.

Kit Blaze and his sidekick help a ranch widow before getting involved with Mexican revolutionaries. 

The sex is flat and juvenile. What little action we get is rushed through. Some research was put into the history and the plot may have been fine, but I could not get through the prose. It wasn't bad grammar so much as the words were strung together so awkwardly for me that it was a chore to get through. 

Available from Amazon

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Edge 1: The Loner by George G. Gilman

Edge 1
The Loner 
by George G. Gilman (Terry Harknett)
1972 New English Library

Josiah Hedges returns from the Civil War to find his brother has been tortured and killed. Where this would merely send other western heroes on a path of vengeance, Hedges has a complete psychotic break and goes on a murder spree. Can't exactly say his victims were innocent, but there's not even a pretense of self defense.

The series remains at least as violent, though with somewhat more motive. This one ends with him ending up a Sherriff of a border town - not sure if Harknett knew where the series was going at this point.

From Amazon

Monday, February 19, 2024

Bunco Brawl - First Hand Edge vs Blaze vs Bounty Hunter

Western authors ante up three books at time for the Bunco Brawl!

First Hand - Edge vs Blaze vs Bounty Hunter

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

RPC European Title: Joseph Rosenberger vs Paul Dale Anderson


Rosenberger didn't bring his A game, but it was still more than enough to keep hold of the belt.

Monday, February 5, 2024

Claw Hammer by Paul Dale Anderson

Claw Hammer
by Paul Dale Anderson
1989 Pinnacle

A girl who survived her family being claw hammered to death is at the center of a series of claw hammer murders. An ineffectual detective teams up with an even more ineffectual pathologist.

Occupies that in-between world of psychological thrillers - there are grisly murders but it doesn't feel like horror, it could be a mystery but the killer is revealed halfway through, could be a procedural but the cops don't do much.

Bad profiling (the killer is a woman because men use guns, whereas women use kitchen implements, like claw hammers). Bad criminal justice (the DA takes the police off the case and indicts a defendant overnight). Bad psychology (the killer kills due to a corpus callosum, which renders them barely functioning but highly cunning).

There's only one brief, half sex scene, but lots and lots of leering, mostly at teens. Bad mix of incest and child molesting with titillating skinning dipping and bikini wearing.

Available from Amazon

Sunday, February 4, 2024

COBRA 4: Nightmare in Panama by Joseph Rosenberger

Nightmare in Panama
by Joseph Rosenberger
1987, Critic's Choice

Jon Skul, Debbie, and a couple of COBRA agents who get even less coverage than usual, team up with a pair of Russian agents to stop a Libyan/Columbian missile strike on the Panama canal. If you think Rosenberg is going soft by going all Red Heat, it doesn't stop there. Jon refuses to torture a prisoner and doesn't want to kill any cops, not even Panamanian ones. The narrative follows secondary characters more than Skul, there are no insane politics, there are multiple sex scenes, and we get a bit of romance.

The first Rosenberger that doesn't feel like a Rosenberger, which is odd as so far the series hit harder than even Death Merchant.

Available from Amazon

Saturday, February 3, 2024