Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Scarlet Gun (Gunsmith #44) by Robert J. Randisi writing as J.R. Roberts (Western series)

Clint Adams's stopover in Hedgemont with Sheena O'Shay had an unexpected effect. Learning that Adams was the famous Gunsmith led her 20-year-old brother Danny to be a gunfighter. Now Danny has run off, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake, and Sheena wants Clint to stop him before someone else does, with a bullet.

Meanwhile, another beautiful Irish redhead known only as Scarlet is out for the blood of the five men who "destroyed her family and snatched her innocence." She's already killed two, and the next one on her list is John Titus, who has just hired Danny as a bodyguard of sorts. Leave it to Clint to satisfy the needs of both women in The Scarlet Gun — the forty-fourth in the long-running Gunsmith series — and in more than one way (including one sequence that spans ten pages).

It's always a pleasure to settle in with one of the Gunsmith novels written by author Robert J. Randisi, who is also a writer of terrific private-eye fiction. (The series has been published under the name "J.R. Roberts," a pseudonym of Randisi's and not a house name like other monthly Western series such as The Trailsman or Slocum, since its inception in 1982.) He has a very fast-paced and visual style that makes each novel a flawlessly easy read. Randisi has written over 300 of these books now, and I'm consistently amazed at how he continues to innovate, even in more recent ones like East of the River.

But I think these earlier Gunsmith entries like The Scarlet Gun are my favorites. I especially like how he gives Clint Adams a trackable memory in them. When there were still fewer than a hundred, and no so many plot to keep track of, Randisi would have the current story reference past novels — a very clever marketing tactic. In this one, Adams remembers or discusses events or characters from no less than seven other Gunsmith books: Dead Man's Hand (#14), Killer Grizzly (#24), North of the Border (#25), Trouble Rides a Fast Horse (#31), The Bounty Women (#35), The El Paso Salt War (#39), and Hell with a Pistol (#41). This adds to the fun and, of course, makes me eager to try out the other books.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails