Thursday, 30 April 2009

LONG SHADOWS by Terry James

Ros West limps into town with blistered feet and a horse that has lost a shoe.
All she wants to do is find a place to clean up and get some sleep. Her progress is halted by a fight going on down an alley where Jake Rudd is being beaten up. Ros interupts the fight and when the three men get nasty with her Ros shows that she's not a woman to be messed with as she lets loose with a spray of bullets.
Although she wounds two of the men, the third gets behind her but not for long as Jake comes to her rescue. They escape to his hotel room where, in the lamplight, he recognises Ros. Just one problem she doesn't know him and she is wary as she draws her gun and holds it on him.
The problem is that she has no memory and with trouble following her Ros has no reason to trust Jake. But when friends and family are threatened by a power hungry businessman the long shadows of the past come full circle as Ros and Jake join forces.
I am looking forward to the rest of the book for Ros West does not strike me as the type of simpering heroine that waits for the hulking male to rescue her. A bit like the opposite I imagine. Also a reminder that women in the west were a lot tougher. They had to be to survive.
LONG SHADOWS by Terry James is a Black Horse Western that will be on sale on the 29th May 2009.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Okay so we e-mailed some publishers like Corgi and Penguin and so far not had a reply. I think that this is very rude. Don't they want young people to buy books or be interested in westerns?
I know that authors do want us to be interested but it seems that we are getting ignored by the publishers.
Magazines spend a lot of money getting us interested in fashion and make up and give us advice about boyfriends because they see us as the market for the future. But when it comes down to other things like the books that we read it is a different matter.
What we read now is what we would buy in the future. I've grown past 'Tracey Beaker' and 'Harry Potter' and I WANT to read something different. So wake up publishers and give us what WE want.

In the meantime please forgive the lack of posts on this site as I am revising for my GCSEs. Exams scare me enough but I think I'll get through.

Monday, 20 April 2009

HAWK no 1 - THE SUDDEN GUNS by William S Brady

Jared Hawk is hired by Philip Garrett to take him and his neice Sarah to Los Angeles, California. Seems simple enough but Hawk has to deal with a bunch of people that do not want the party to make it.
The story opens with Jared Hawk collecting the bounty on two wanted men and, in fairness, gives them the opportunity to give themselves up. Unfortunately, they elect to be the dead part on the Wanted poster.
It is a scene that sets Jared Hawk's character.
Wrapped around the main story are two other stories that relate to Hawk's past. There is the one about growing up with an abusive father who, when Hawk tries to fight back, plunges a pitchfork through his left hand. This explains why Hawk wears a black leather glove on that hand.
Eventually, he gets his revenge.
The other flashback story involves his relationship working with a lawman John T McLain and how he came by the sawn down Meteor shotgun that he carries on his left hip.
When violence occurs it is descriptive and bloody as other books written at this time.
According to the back of the book cover Hawk has a simple code and that is to stay alive to deliver the goods and collect the dues and don't step aside for any man. All of which he does but there is more to this character than that and I hope that the series continues to develop his character for there is more to Hawk than meets the eye.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


I just thought that I would mention that it is 20 years since football's worst disaster when 96 Liverpool fans were killed.
The FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest was just two and a half minutes old when police opened a gate that created a surge of fans. In those days and because of hooliganism fans were fenced in. So when the surge began there was no where else for the fans at the front to go. They tried to climb the fence but police tried to beat them back.
The face of football changed after this disaster. The fences went and hooliganism faded away and it is a different game today.
I'm just sad that it took the lives of 96 people to acheive that.
In memory of the 96.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

EDGE #61 THE RIFLE by George G Gilman

Is this the most expensive western ever?
It does make me wonder as there is a copy on Ebay which has reached £74 with a few more days to go and I know that in the past it has reached as much as £120. Whoever pays that much must be either a dedicated fan or something. Probably the 'or something'.
As far as I know there were not that many of these books printed although it was the one that finished the series.
The story itself concerns a Colt Hartford rifle that Edge believes has been stolen from Adam Steele (another George G Gilman creation). These two had met up in three previous books. What surprised me was that despite the coldness of Edge's character that he actually cared enough to find Adam Steele and return his rifle to him.
And how much did this book cost me? 10p in a charity shop. And no I'm not parting with it.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Childhood Education

Obviously I blame my parents for my childhood.
We lived in a house that was loaded with books, cassettes and videos. Later, of course, the cassettes and videos were replaced by CDs and DVDs.
As my dad said books are for reading not ornaments. So, when we were old enough, we were free to borrow books, listen to music or slide off into my bedroom and watch a film. Not the horrors but we had a choice of war, western, epic movies. All that was expected of us was that we returned what we borrowed in the same condition to the place that we took it from.
I remember once going to a boot fair and they had a load of comics like Spiderman, Incredible Hulk and Batman and when my younger brother and I couldn't make up our minds which ones we wanted Dad scooped up the lot. We went home with this black sack of comics and when we got home we counted them. We had about 150 of them with Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman and loads more.
Dad showed us lots of things as well. How to fish, how to track and tell a badger's print from a fox but these were things that he had learned when he was in the Boy Scouts.
At school we learned the normal things like Maths, English and Science - dad taught us about the other things. Unlike school there was no pressure. If we read a book or watched a film then it was our choice to do that. Being able to have that choice meant that we able to form an opinion.
And, once in a while, when I take my young boys to bed I will read them a western story or make one up in my head for them.
Just like dad did for my older sisters, my younger brother and me.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


The Tainted Archive blog is urging people to write to or e-mail publishers urging them to take on more escapist fiction - preferably westerns. To my way of thinking is that if publishers like Penguin books can publish westerns in America then there is no reason why they shouldn't publish them worldwide.
So look out Penguin the kids are going to get on your case.
Support The Tainted Archive - and support Wild West Monday (the first Monday in June).

Talking of Remakes

Due for release this summer is 'The Taking Of Pelham 123' with John Travolta taking on the role played by Robert Shaw. The original was made in 1974 but I have never seen this film.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


Reading around the blogs there seems to be some debate about remakes of certain films.
Is it a good thing or is it bad?
The first thing that occurs to me is about the audience that the remake is aimed at. I guess that with a western it would be for all generations.
The two westerns up for remakes are 'True Grit' and 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid'. They are films of their time and have a following.
A 'True Grit' filmed from 14 year old Mattie's side would attract a younger audience - but I'm not sure that the Coen Brothers are the right people to do it.
I never liked the Butch Cassidy film as it just felt like a couple of filmstars having a lot of fun which took away some of the excitement. Travolta and Cruise have the ability to bring out the fact that Cassidy and Sundance were outlaws and not heroes. In reality I expect more of the same.
I am in fact dead against remakes for the simple reason that a) it has been done and b) remakes rarely work.
Howard Hawks remade 'Rio Bravo' twice as 'El Dorado' and 'Rio Lobo'. Why? Neither of the remakes were as good as the first one.
I really enjoyed '3.10 To Yuma' with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale - until the final few minutes. I could not believe that Ben Wade would gun down his gang and then surrender. Why would he do that?
Someone lost the plot there.
Recently there was 'Death Race' which was pretty good. It was claimed that this was a remake of 'Death Race 2000'. I don't see the connection as they seem to be two different films.
Now Stephen Norrington who brought 'Blade' and 'The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen' to the screen has bought the rights to James O'Barr's 'The Crow' and plans a remake of that. The original was made in 1994 with the late Brandon Lee.
And this is the point where I understand more about where the older generations are coming from. 'The Crow' is one of my generations' classics and there is no need for a remake.
As has been said before there is a lot of new material out there that could be filmed.
Though on the other hand would there be classics like 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'A Fistful Of Dollars' if they had not been remakes of two Japanese classics?
Like I say most remakes do not work. But some do. And those few have the right team behind them and have a fresh angle to them.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

THE SAINT on dvd

I've read a few stories by Leslie Charteris featuring his hero Simon Templar alias The Saint. But being a little on the young side had never seen the Roger Moore tv series.
Now, thanks to a new part work video series I can.
The first two episodes 'The Talented Husband' and 'The Latin Touch' are available for £2.99.
This series was screened in the 1960s with the final episode shown in 1969.
Roger Moore went on to play James Bond and the first episode features the Bond girl Shirley Eaton (she's the one that ended up painted gold in 'Goldfinger'). She plays an insurance investigator who teams up with The Saint to prevent a rubbish theatre producer from killing off his third wife.
Great fun and well worth watching.
Also, I had a bit of fun buying this dvd set because it means that I've got to start watching 'The Bill'. I managed to walk on to the set of an episode that they were filming outside my local newsagent - just as 'the robber' was running out of the shop.

Friday, 3 April 2009


Last Train From Gun Hill opens pleasant enough but within minutes it descends into off screen violence as two wandering cowboys rape and kill an Indian woman. Only this is not just one of your ordinary Indian woman because she is the wife of the Town Marshall, Matt Morgan (played by Kirk Douglas).
Morgan is determined to bring the killer to justice but this turns a little complicated as it turns out that the killer is Rick Belden (played by Earl Holliman) the son of one of the big cattlemen Craig Belden (played by Anthony Quinn).
As the story goes along it is revealed that Craig Belden had once saved Morgan's life and from then on had become firm friends. While Morgan battles with friendship and a need for justice Belden shows that blood is thicker than friendship.There is no way that Belden is going to let Morgan take his son in.
Morgan gets his man and they have to hide up in town while they wait for the 9:00 pm train from Gun Hill.
Craig Belden does not give up but rides into town intent on rescuing his son. As far as Belden is concerned no one will be catching that Last Train From Gun Hill.
Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn work so well together that you can feel them battling with their own emotions.
Although the ending is tense and inevitable I felt a little let down as it was a similar ending to '3:10 To Yuma'.
Still the director John Sturges (who went on to direct 'The Magnificent Seven') did a good job with the material and kept the tension up helped by the music of Dmitri Tiomkin.
Still, it might be an old film but it is one of the good ones.