Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Review: LeRoy US Marshal - The Savage Breed by Neil Hunter


Latimer was a tough Texas town. But things got a whole heap tougher when Ralph Elphick decided he wanted the oil discovered on range owned by Callum Bascombe and his wife Abby. Elphick’s first move was to have Callum Bascombe ‘vanish’. He figured Abby would be only too willing to sign over the land after that.

But Abby was tougher than she looked—resourceful, too. Accepting that her husband was most likely dead, she penned a letter to the US Marshal’s office, asking for help in solving her problem.

That’s where US Marshal Alvin LeRoy came into it.

LeRoy slipped quietly into town, playing an undercover role while he checked out the lay of the land. But things didn’t go according to plan. He took a beating that laid him up and did nothing to make him feel any more kindly toward the bad guys.
Stubborn as hell, LeRoy just kept coming, until Elphick’s hired guns took a hand. Bullets flew and bodies piled up, but there was just no stopping him. By the time he was through, Latimer knew the fury of one man’s fight for justice ... US Marshal Alvin LeRoy’s kind of justice.



Having very much enjoyed the first book in the series, I was looking forward to reading more about LeRoy. Tough and on the whole uncomplicated, he is a man of action not afraid to put himself right in the middle of trouble to get the job done. This outing sees him up against a group of men arrogant enough to consider themselves too clever and important not to succeed in their evil plans. This makes LeRoy's understated handling of them that more satisfying.




If you enjoy a no-nonsense, well-rounded story with plenty of action I'd definitely recommend LeRoy. As always, Neil Hunter writes in an easy to read style and the story is well paced and leaves no loose ends whilst promising more adventures for the US Marshal.




Finally, make sure you read the bio at the end. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Jo Walpole at Gravetapping

To coincide with the release of the second book in the Maggie O'Bannen series, fellow writer and western enthusiast Ben Boulden asked me a few questions for his Gravetapping blog.

Interview: Jo Walpole 

Jo Walpole published her first novel in 2005—a well-received Western romance she would “prefer to keep…in the past”—and since then Jo has written another eight novels and a short story collection. Her recent work has been in the Western genre, both traditional—“standard [and] non-offensive”—written as by Terry James, and a more violent and graphic variety with her tough-as-nails Maggie O’Bannen series, written as by Joe Slade.

Jo’s work has been well-received by critics and readers alike. The first Maggie O’Bannen novel, Days of Evil, was called “absorbing” with “smooth writing, real characters, and a great story” by novelist Paul Bishop. Her writing has also been hailed as “fun”, “fast moving, hard hitting”, and “unputdownable”.
Jo was kind enough to take a break from her writing and answer a few questions. The questions are italicized, and as always, the answers are so much more important.

What’s your latest novel?

It’s called Wanted - Deadand is the second in the Maggie O’Bannen series, which I write as Joe Slade for Piccadilly...You can find out what I had to say here.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Promo: The Maggie O'Bannen Series by Joe Slade


After the success of the first book in this series, I'm excited to announce that Maggie O'Bannen rides again on 1 April.

If you read book 1 and are expecting more of the same from book 2, I hope you won't be disappointed, but make no mistake, Maggie is evolving. No more is she the frightened girl fighting for survival. Now Maggie is ready to dig deep and face trouble head on. Be assured, the results will be no less bloody.

You'll find reviews for Days of Evil at Amazon and Goodreads. There are reviews for both titles at the much respected Western Fiction Review. Also, I recently received a positive mention in the new Fanzine Hot Lead (review hereunder the pseudonyms of Joe Slade and Terry James where it is alleged that I (and a few others) have 'embraced the Western with a genuine understanding of its current tenets and a healthy respect for the traditions that have gone before'. High praise indeed! However, to quote a fictional character from A Knight's Tale: 'That's for every man to decide for himself'.

Book 1 - Days of Evil

Kidnapped at the age of sixteen, Maggie has survived the fickle temper of notorious outlaw Mad Dog Frank O’Bannen for seven years. Now he is dead and she is about to find out that there are worse ways to live and die than as the wife of a wanted man.
Frank had prepared her as best he could for what would follow and when she leaves her prison in the hills she has the blood of three men on her hands and knows the feel of hot lead. Soon her hard-won freedom is in doubt and she finds herself pursued by Frank’s old partner, a man with a vicious reputation and more than one score to settle.

Maggie has Frank’s gun, her keen wits and new friends to help her, but will they be enough to save her from the brutality of a maniac bent on revenge?

Book 2 - Wanted: Dead

Frank O’Bannen wanted five thousand dollars to let you go. I offered him ten thousand to kill you.’

Kidnapped at sixteen, Maggie O’Bannen returns home after seven years to be reunited with her father. No longer the idealistic girl she once was, her return is meant to help put her demons to rest. Instead, it sets in motion a series of events that will put her on a collision course with trouble, and this time, Maggie has no qualms about speeding towards it.

Discovering who was behind her abduction is just the beginning. Murder with no apparent motive and no suspect soon brings her under the scrutiny of the local sheriff. As the body count rises, Maggie fights for her life against a foe who will stop at nothing to win.

As events escalate, Maggie will need to rely on her friends more than ever before if she is to survive. But at what cost?





Saturday, 17 March 2018

Review: Hot Lead: Issue one - The Piccadilly Cowboys


The fanzine  of vintage western paperbacks. 60 pages full colour. Debut issue traces The Piccadilly Cowboys phenomenon, with reviews, articles and interviews not the controversial western paperbacks perhaps best typified by the George G Gilman Edge series. 

Although I am familiar with the story of the Piccadilly Cowboys having read some Edge, Crow, Hart, Jubal Cane, and Adam Steele over the years, I was keen to get my hands on this fanzine. Yes, you can find everything you want to know on any subject on the Internet but being familiar with at least two of the contributors behind this publication (Paul Bishop and Steve Myall), I was interested to read their combined perspectives tidily bundled in one place.

My initial reactions to its release were '£6.50 for a magazine?' and 'Where's the e-format version?'. However, I was very impressed with it when it dropped on my mat. First and foremost, I liked its nice manageable size, glossy colourful cover and the overall quality feel it has.

Once you open it up, you are bombarded with Piccadilly Cowboy (PC) cover art on pretty much every page, which in itself, is very interesting. However, the pictures are there not to distract you from a lack of content, but to enhance your enjoyment of the articles that accompany them.

Laid out neatly in six sections, the fanzine offers an introduction to the Piccadilly Cowboys (where they came from, what they did, their impact on the genre) and the series of books that forms their catalogue. Steve Myall of the renowned Western Fiction Review blog gives knowledgeable insights into some of his favourite PC titles. Justin Marriott interviews Terry Harknett and also provides a couple of reviews. Paul Bishop gives a nod to another fanzine, this time from the 80s, Western Magazine.

As if all this was not enough, the premier issue is dedicated to the memory of two prolific western writers Bill Crider and Dusty Richards, both of whom left us this year.

Justin Marriott in his closing paragraph asks that readers 'spread the word' and I am more than happy to do that. I closed the cover feeling that my hour or so spent curled up with the dog on my lap and the magazine in my hand, had not been wasted.



Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Books I read in January and February

I've been concentrating on writing my Maggie O'Bannen series for the last couple of months so I haven't done much reading this year. However, for what it's worth, here's my list.

January


Hangtown (A Bodie the Stalker Western Book 5) – Neil Hunter

Dead Man Walking – Derek Rutherford (my review is here)

North Of The Border (An O’Brien western book 7) – Ben Bridges




February

The Streets of Vermijo – Neil Hunter (I very much liked the way the female co-lead was written but couldn't help feeling she had so much more potential and her part was too small - maybe next time? I love the cover art.)

Blade 1: The Indian Incident – Matt Chisholm


The Wilde Boys – Ben Bridges


Happy reading!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

First Review for Maggie O'Bannen 2 - Wanted: Dead

The second instalment of the Maggie O'Bannen series will be released very soon but the first review is in and I'm more than happy with it. You can read it  now at Western Fiction Review.




This time around Joe Slade includes a perfect blend of murder mystery into the story that never loses its western atmosphere

The final confrontation makes for an exciting and satisfying conclusion to this very fast paced tale

Monday, 5 February 2018

Coming soon - Maggie O'Bannen 2 Wanted: Dead by Joe Slade


‘Frank O’Bannen wanted five thousand dollars to let you go. I offered him ten thousand to kill you.’

Kidnapped at sixteen, Maggie O’Bannen returns home after seven years to be reunited with her father. No longer the idealistic girl she once was, her return is meant to help put her demons to rest. Instead, it sets in motion a series of events that will put her on a collision course with trouble, and this time, Maggie has no qualms about speeding towards it.

Discovering who was behind her abduction is just the beginning. Murder with no apparent motive and no suspect soon brings her under the scrutiny of the local sheriff. As the body count rises, Maggie fights for her life against a foe who will stop at nothing to win.


As events escalate, Maggie will need to rely on her friends more than ever before if she is to survive. But at what cost?