Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Longarm and The Hell Riders

Things you might expect to find in your average western:

The ranch owner who wants all the land for himself
The wronged bank robber who didn't mean to shoot the clerk
The posse hell bent on finding its prey

Things you might not expect to find in in your average western:

A cowboy who references Darwin
Night riders whose heads are on fire
A villain who may or may not have a tail

Longarm and The Hell Riders gives you all these things and more. This is what you call a house name western, many writers sharing the same name, in this case Tabor Evans.

But this book is the witty work of our friend James Reasoner and a fine fun read it is, one part serious (a lot of interesting western history), one part pulp (lots of action) and one part...well, I've already mentioned the night riders whose heads are aflame and the bad guy who does or doesn't have a tail, haven't I?

If this was 1934, the fire heads and the tail would be part of some cowboy-sci-fi serial such as the inept giddy one that launched Gene Autry with lumbering robots being held momentarily at bay with six-guns. And while there are some nicely spooky moments in Hell Riders, James handles the explanations in a far more beleivable fashion.

For me this was ninety minutes of pure fun. I'm pretty sure it'll be the same for you.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Although a lot of Westerns are among my top fifty movies, I've never read one other than Lonesome Dove. This review is a persuasive argument for trying one.

Unknown said...


Anonymous said...

Ed, if Westerns were still big in Hollywood, I bet that somebody would be remaking RADIO RANCH aka THE PHANTOM EMPIRE with Brad Pitt and better robots.