Monday, 24 November 2008
EDGE - CALIFORNIA KILLING
Lately this blog's been all over the place. covering such eclectic subjects as music, political correctness and comic books. These are all subjects that I will return to from time to time but normal service is resumed with this review of a vintage western paperback.
Edge: California Killing
Book 7 in the series
First published by NEL in 1973
My copy is from a December 1977 printing
Author - George G. Gilman
Original cover price: UK 60p Canada $1.85 New Zealand $2.00
I would have read this before, many years ago. As a kid I loved these adult westerns and would often swap dog eared copies around the school playground. As an adult I've been trying to get a full set and I have n0 1 - 40 complete and also No-43 - 46.
I'm reading through them all in order but not straight through and it's been some months since I read the previous book in the series. However, I fancied a nice fun easy read and so I pulled Edge no 7 down from the shelves.
As soon as I started reading I recalled the joke running through the story and it was still good for a chuckle. The novel opens up with a brutal stagecoach robbery by the vicious Hood gang. Edge is among the victims and he is forced to stand by as the bandits rob all the passengers. the gang then ride off and come upon another two weary victims - they beat a man close to death and viciously gangrape his wife.
Later Edge turns up in The Town With No Name with the rest of the stagecoach passengers and learns that the Hood gang have long been terrorising the area and that the town sheriff is a coward who has failed to do anything about it. Soon Edge is facing off against tough ranchers and well as going in pursuit of the bandits.
The town with no name is in California - the Paramount Hotel is owned by the Warner Brothers, there's a new photographer in town called Wood and he's set up shop next to the theatre owned by Rodney Holly. We have the origins of tinsel town here.
"He jerked up the gun and squeezed both triggers simultaneously. Both loads of buckshot smashed into Mayer's left shoulder. The man emitted a terrified scream as he was flung backwards and watched his severed arm spin away from him, spraying blood from the meaty wound.
Edge let the shotgun drop to the floor and clawed the Walker-Colt from its holster. 'Get him out of here.' He ordered. 'All of him.' "
Readers of the Edge series will know what to expect in the all action, extremely violent but good humoured series. Some may find the extreme violence a little much but it's not for no reason that these books have a cult following.
An excellent black comedy.
Posted by Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin at 13:13