Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shadows from Boot Hill by L. Ron Hubbard (western multi-cast audiobook)

On the run from the law for the hired killing of a banker, Brazos asks livery man Whisper Monahan to help him out. Brazos had to light a shuck immediately after the murder and had been unable to collect his fee: $500 in double eagles.

Scotty Brant has been poisoning lands downstream by using cyanide to get gold from iron oxide, killing entire herds of sheep and allowing Whisper to buy thousands of acres on the cheap.  Whisper offers Brazos $200 to kill Brant, giving Brazos much-needed funds and simultaneously allowing Monahan to make good on his land investment.

Trouble is, it's going to take three deaths to get one, because to get Scotty, Brazos has to get through son Swifty Brant and the family jujuman, Bilbo.  But a lack of superstition and a silver cross given by a Mexican girl are no match for a curse spat out by a dying witch doctor.

A supernatural Western originally published in June 1940 in Wild West Weekly, Shadows from Boot Hill, and its ilk were a rarity in the days of the pulps.  But author L. Ron Hubbard once again shows his talent and imagination, and this audio version, directed by Tait Ruppert with Firesign Theater alumnus Phil Proctor playing Whisper Monahan and Scotty Brant, is bound to appeal to fans of both the "weird" and the traditional.

The audio of Shadows from Boot Hill also features two more Western stories Hubbard wrote in the 1940s, "Gunman!" and "The Gunner from Gehenna", both directed by Jim Meskimen performed with equal skill by the participants, including Proctor and Meskimen himself.

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