Sunday, April 20, 2014

Single Jack by Max Brand

Another story by the prolific author Max Brand, this edition published in 1966, the third printing by Pocket Books.

Andrew Apperly visits his lawyer brother, David, in New York City to convince David to return West with him..
Andrew brought with him a dog, or a wolf, or a wolf-dog to be trained by a man who handles tigers and other wild animals.
"The dog can't be trained," admits the wild animal trainer in so many words.
The dog, Comanche, saves a man from drowning in the East River. The man is running from the law.
Comanche is this man's dog.
This man is Jack Deems (Single Jack).
The Apperly bros head west with the dog, leaving Jack behind, but not for long. He shows up at the Apperly Ranch to get his dog. Apperly says he can have him for nothing but a little assistance in fighting off the big rancher who is stealing his cattle and running the town of Yeoville, Alex
It turns out that Jack is the fastest, slickest, gol-darndest gunman ever, and the best gol-darndest knifeman and ropeman and everythingman ever seen or heard of out West or back East or up North or down South.
And this Apperly lawyer feller, David Apperly, starts his lawyering in Yeoville, right in the midst of all the bad men of that portion of the country controlled by Alex Shodress, the biggest, gol-darndest cattleman outlaw, and crookedest town owner you ever met.    
 Single Jack is told to keep an eye on David, but David gets shot two or three times and is hauled away to a pretty girls' house, where she takes care of him, since he isn't dead.
And the plot thickens and thickens right up till Shodress and his men catch Jack and throw him in jail in leg irons, wrist irons, arm irons, hand irons, lead cannon balls and a twenty-four hour guard by the fasstest guinamn on Shodress' payroll and ole Shodress himself. Darn, what a pickle he's in.
But darn, this girl's brother, Steve, who works for Shodress and who David had locked up for extreme killing, and who Shodress busted out of jail, slips Jack a file. Jack goes to work right under the noses of his guards and at an opportune moment overcomes a guard and steals his guns, and you guessed it, is on his way to extreme freedom with his dog and new wife, the girl who was helping David.

I'm telling you, it was one of the gol-darndest, amusing, exciting stories right up to the very end. But the author changed the tone a couple of times like he was writing with his tongue planted firmly in cheek in my estimation which threw me for a loppy curve for an instant, but was soon back to the regular tone and style of writin', the Max Brand style. Max Brand is really Frederick Faust, which you already know.