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Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Mike Kearby is a fairly new name to me in the field of Western writing.  I lucked into this book about a week and a half ago; the fact that there was a quote from Elmer Kelton on the front cover meant to me that this was something definitely worth picking up.

Free Anderson is a former slave who fought in and survived the Civil War.  He now, of course, has to contend with the War’s sore losers and those in his own former outfit who didn’t like his “uppity-ness”. 

Throw in a crooked Sheriff, money from the sale of horses and a friend of Free’s who would go the ends of the earth for him and you have an admirable tale. 


It wasn’t until recently that I was aware that Al Sarrantonio wrote Westerns as well; I’d only known him as a horror writer – specifically his “Horrorween” books.  When I found “West Texas”, I was pleasantly surprised. 

It starts off mysteriously when two strangers meet at a campfire.  One stranger turns on the other and the tale then turns to what we would today call a “serial killer” story. 

As of this writing (June 29, 2011), I haven’t completed the book, but should have it done by the 4th of July weekend.  What I have completed thus far, though, tells me that this is one to remember long after you’ve finished it. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Recently I had the great honor of being accepted as a Facebook Friend with actor  James Drury of “The Virginian” television series fame. 

Mr. Drury is currently campaigning to get his co-star, Doug McClure (who played Trampas on the show) posthumously inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. 

As such, there is an online petition one can access and sign to help accomplish this very goal.  You can access it here:

This is a very worthwhile endeavor for those of us who loved TV cowboys.  Mr. McClure is particularly deserving of this honor not only because of his work in front of the camera, but also because he was supportive and giving to the community through his work with young people and helping them avoid drug use in addition to working with those who were already addicted.

Doug McClure was one of the good guys.  Let’s see that he gets this award.

“Saddletramp Swami” thanks you for your help!


Will Henry.  Do I haveta say more?


Ok, this may be sacrilege, but I've never read Max Brand.  The "other" Western guy that people are supposed to be nuts about is Zane Grey.  Tried him, but he doesn't really pull me in.  Indirectly inherited my maternal grandfather's collection of Zane Grey hardcovers, so I supposed I should really TRY to develop a taste.

Wish me luck as I tackle the first Max Brand here.

Friday, June 17, 2011


My better half, Karen, was right.  She’d told me recently that she thought we had a picture somewhere of Earl Murray chowing down on the Todo El Mundo Burger (a chili burger of some sort) the day that we were all on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas, scoping out places to eat.  Luckily, I found this picture just this morning.  Therefore, I now give you the photographic evidence of Earl’s accomplishment. 

In an earlier posting on SADDLETRAMP SWAMI, I wrote about Earl’s book, THE HORSE RANCH and in doing so, took the opportunity to tell the “Todo El Mundo Burger” story. 

Earl is eating the Todo El Mundo with a fork here probably because it would have been too messy for him to pick up and eat with his hand.  He would have wanted to keep his white shirt pristine, I’m sure.  The person to Earl’s right whose face is obstructed is Dale Walker, who “snookered” Earl into ordering it in the first place. 

Those were good days and good times.  I just wish that Earl, who left us in 2003, was still here to laugh with us about it. 


Never saw these comics when they were first issued.  The series did not go beyond #4, though.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


This series was popular with the soldiers with whom I served in the 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry in Kitzingen, Germany.  I saw this book passed around several times in the barracks, but wanted a copy for my own collection, so I scooted on over to the Stars and Stripes bookstore and bought one for myself.  Good thing, too, because the GUNN books would become a favorite for me. 

Author Jory Sherman lived in my home state of Missouri, in Branson, specifically, as I would later discover.  I contacted him and we became friends.  It was Jory who got me involved in the Western Writers of America and invited me down to Branson for the 1984 convention. 

GUNN lasted 29 books before riding off into the sunset.  The first few books all had Western-type titles to them but somewhere along the line, to play up the “Adult Western” angle, Zebra Books started re-titling Jory’s novels.  SWEET TEXAS TART and TWO EASY PIECES were just some of the play-on-words titles they came up with.  Jory’s storylines and writing were deserving of better treatment, but the book people figured that sexed-up titles would help ‘em sell. 

Grab them if you find them laying around somewhere.  On the rare occasions that I see them while out and about, I snatch them up even though I have all the books already.  Don’t mind having extras.


Edge teams up with George G. Gilman’s other series character, Adam Steele, in the first of what would turn out to be three adventures. 

Edge always had the grim joke to crack and Steele usually had the last “word” in his own books.  Put ‘em together, as George did in this 1980 double-sized novel from Pinnacle, and you have some interesting action – and interaction. 

A real find for the fans of either series.


From the prolific word processor of Robert Randisi came this (unfortunately) short-lived series, published by the now-defunct Paperjacks Books. 

Although “Joshua Randall” was the name of the bounty hunter character on “Wanted: Dead or Alive”, this is otherwise not based on the TV show.  However, the Steve McQueen program was clearly and inspiration for Bob in doing these books.

THE BOUNTY HUNTER went only 4 books but was great fun while it lasted.


Another book in the series which was inspired, I'm sure, by the pulp Western stories from the Golden Age.


Have no real idea who wrote these sexed-up versions of "F-Troop".  I do, however, sort of identify with the Preacher on the cover here; I loves me my bible and I loves me some "slap and tickle" as well!


If you ask me, the guy in the water with Jessie appears to be pretty much of a wolf himself. 


The first of a series of books about a railroad detective named Foxx. 

Done in the days when “Adult Westerns” were pretty common, and with veteran writer Mel Marshall at the helm, I figured that this series had a better than even chance to make it.  I was wrong, though; it only lasted for 5 books. 


Another surprising adult western cover because one does not usually see full-blown male nudity like this.  But, then, is he really completely naked if he’s wearing a hat?

This one centers around “The Bloody Benders” – Kate Bender and her family.


Hmm, ya think they were trying to sell this book to women readers by using a Tom Selleck doppelganger on the cover? 

The other bit of humor here is that the author got his “Pike Bishop” pseudonym from William Holden’s character in “The Wild Bunch”. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011


A new (to me) series from William & J. A. Johnstone. 

I just got this one today, so I haven't been able to crack into it yet.  Pinnacle Books has done its usual nice packaging job here. 

The protagonists here are Scratch Morton and Bo Creel.  These boys are guarding a gold shipment to keep this one from slipping away like past ones have. 

There are always dead folks left at the scenes of the crimes, all of them bearing pitchfork marks, a sign of the "Devils of Deadwood" robber gang.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that these pitchfork fellas aren't just bored choirboys, but then neither, I imagine, are Scratch and Bo. 

Always happy to see another title in the Johnstone catalog and that J. A. is keeping Bill Johnstone's legacy alive.