Follow by email

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.

Historical Date:
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.' "

R
eaders 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.

7 comments:

Chris said...

I love the descriptions--thanks for including some snippets. Really want to read one of these.

ARCHAVIST said...

Chris - I've got two Edge doubles in my collection. If you email me your address I'll send these to you. You are most welcome to them as a fellow western lover.

August West said...

I always say to myself that I've read enough EDGE paperbacks and then I'm picking one up and I'm through 30-40 pages of the thing.

Even though you know your getting the same thing over, they can be like a magnet.

Bruce said...

Edge books are just great literary junk food.

Joanne Walpole said...

Thanks for the review and the extract you posted. I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy the writng style so I'll pick one up and have a look.
Jo

ARCHAVIST said...

What I really dig about Edge is the books are great fun. Okay the violence can be very OTT but even the grimest of moments have a slightly blackly humorous edge to them. Edge was a sort of super hero - he could ravish a girl with one hand while holding off a hundred bloodthirsty bandits with a gun in his other hand. Edhe was Eastwood's man with no name on steroids.

Charles Gramlich said...

I read a couple of the Edge books years ago abut didn't care all that much for the ones I tried. It wasn't the violence, which I rather enjoyed, but it just seemed that something was missing. I was so used to Louis L'Amour stories I guess. I still have about 35 Edge books that I haven't read. Got 'em all at a book sale once.