Monday, June 17, 2019

Once a Marshal by Peter Brandvold

Once A Marshal is the first in the Sheriff Ben Stillman Series published by Wolfpack Publishing. 

An old friend of Stillman's, Bill Harmon, has been killed and Harmon's son contacts Stillman to find his killer. The son, Steve Harmon, is a half-breed and is in love with a Crystal Johnson, daughter of Warren Johnson, an alcoholic, widowed, old white man who does not approve of this relationship.

Stillman shows up and begins his search for the killer of Harmon and runs into Donovan Hobbs who is gradually taking over all the public  property where men and families have settled. Hobbs is a British citizen and he and his ranch manager, Weed Cole, and his ranch hands (read outlaws) are raiding and getting rid of the settlers to expand his Montana empire. Stillman also finds out his former girlfriend/lover is now married to Hobbs and can't understand why. Fay Beaumont wasn't the type of woman to marry somebody like that and she had enough money to take care of herself.

So, the plot thickens and Stillman is caught in the middle. It takes a lot of luck and brains to get through it. A lot of action and chasing and hiding and waiting and searching goes on, enough that I give it five stars. It's a well developed novel with lots of tricks and shooting  and twists. This series should be a barn burner.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Review of The Battle for the Alamo Taqueria by Nick Iuppa and John Pesqueira

The Battle for the Alamo Taqueria is supposed to be a comical story based on today's news, and I'm not saying it isn't funny. I didn't enjoy it too well. A group of Mexicans plan a raid on the real Alamo to make a statement against the border wall. It comes about because an immigrant gets shot crossing the border illegally in South Texas.

Claudia Madero plans the invasion along with Emilio (the son of the King of Beans), as Claudia is the niece of the man who was shot. The message gets mixed up and while Claudio and Emilio head for The Alamo in San Antonio, the remainder of the invaders end up at the Alamo Taqueria a few miles on the outside of San Antonio in the midst of a wedding party.  Nacho (Francisco Alfredo Gonzalez Gonzalez Gonzalez) and  Britney Fleming, a singer and Nacho's girlfriend) are in the group heading to the Alamo Taqueria. The place is surrounded by the U.S. Marines and the President of the U.S. and El Presidente of Mexico land there and try to straighten out the mess.

Clayton Bailey, a Texan, is the culprit who shot Claudia's uncle and he also shows up at the Taqueria, (The Best Tacos in the U.S.) to finish off Nacho who stole his girlfriend (Britney).

You can see where this novel has great potential to be funny and the authors do a good job of working on it, but it didn't hit my funny bone. I'm sure most readers would enjoy it and find it comical, but I can only muster up Three Stars for it, partly because it needed a better proofing. It moves along at a brisk pace and is easy to read, though.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

To the Far Blue Mountains by Louis L'Amour

This novel read like it was first in the Sackett series, being about half or more of the life of Barnabas Sackett in England. Barnabas is wanted for stealing the Queen's pile of gold that was lost in the "fens" along the coast of England. Barnabas found a few coins, but nowhere near the amount that everyone is looking for and all the robbers and the Queen's men are looking for him. He has made a couple of trips to the New Land and is anxious to get back to it and avoid the people after him. He swashbuckles himself into command of a Dutch flyyt (a small sailing ship) and he sets out for the far blue mountains with his girlfriend and friends who helped him escape from prison.

After an adventure on the Newfoundland coast where he managed to take over the flyyt, they find themselves on the beach in Virginia or nearby and build a fort to keep the Indians and others out. Before setting out for the Far Blue Mountains, they must return to England for supplies and trade. With them is a Catawba Indian they rescued who is planning to show them where the Catawbas live and the way to the mountains. In between attacks by Indians and pirates, on their return there fort is destroyed. Rather than rebuild they head for the mountains.

My view of the novel is that it was mighty interesting and kept my attention. The descriptions of English life is well done and so is the sword fighting along the way with plenty of action and entertainment. Ditto for the life in the New Land and the Indian fights. It covers twenty or more years and Barnabas is married and having kids along the way, who soon grow into adulthood, all well written. This and all the other things I haven't mentioned make it a good read, and I give it FIVE STARS.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Powerr Up for Profits" by Kathleen Gage

I purchased Power Up for Profits by Kathleen Gage with the idea that it would get my small business up to speed. The book is chock-a-block with instructions and ideas for running an on-line business, It covered about everything including the use of the media, videos, and what do and how to do it in many cases. The Chapter Titles give you a clue to what's inside, e.g., Your Business is Your Expression, Your Marketing Strategy, Create Information Products, Blogging for Fame and Fortune, The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread - Social Media, and one more example - Teleseminars and Webinars. There are more titles than those mentioned, but it gives you an idea of the scope of the book.

The Subtitle of the book is The Smart Woman's Guide to On-line Marketing - Internet Marketing for Today's Entrepreneur. The great thing is, it's no just for women. Men can make great use of it, too

My small business is stagnated in a pothole of mud and I'm at a standstill. But now that I've read this book, I understand why and what to do about it. I hope to use some of the information to get out of the pothole and make a little money. All I must do is follow Ms. Gage's instructions, not all of them, but enough to get me started.

I give Power Up for Profits FIVE STARS for it's writing, usefulness, and instructions.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

New Book Released

Volume 2 of The Sorry Life of Bobby Chase-the-Lord is now available at Amazon (https://www.amazoncom/dp/1726838803) for paperback. The Kindle version is at

Volume 1 is available for FREE on Nov 7, 8, and 9 at

That's what I've been working on for the last couple of months and they were just posted on Amazon within the last few days. Look in the store if those sites above don't take you to the books.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Pretty Polly by Duane Spurlock

Duane Spurlock is one of my favorite writing people and runs the Spur and Lock Blog. Pretty Polly is one of his short stories and I have to say it is a good one.

Griswold Bear, aka Grizzly Bear, is a terrible bad person as shown by the cowboy hanging from a tree upside down. Grizzly's work, and he gets worse in the story and decides to visit the town of  Wicket. Grizzly gets into town and meets the sheriff, Sheriff Shoat. Shoat recognizes him, but since he's leaving town for a couple of days, tells Grizzly to visit Pretty Polly and enjoy a good time.

Grizzly pays a visit to Pretty Polly who works in the local saloon and ........  I have to leave off there before I tell too much, but if you want a good time, get ahold of this short story and laugh your ___ off. It's a well written, fun bit of writing.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The X-Troop by Clay Davis

This book has some minor editing issues, but other than that it was a compelling read with action and suspense. The U.S. President Grant must take steps to prevent the country from being overthrown by a ruthless gang that uses technology to overpower their enemies. So Grant tells General Sheridan he must come up with a plan to defeat these revolutionaries. Sheridan sends for Colonel Orsen Ritter and gives him orders to do just that.

This gang is using a new instrument to defeat anything that prevents them from overthrowing the government.  This new strategy includes heavy tank-like artillery that has never been used in a war and is a formidable object to destroy.

Colonel Rittter devises a new branch of the armed forces, which he names the X-Troop to overcome these thugs. He contacts old army friends he can trust to be quiet about the X-Troop and work hard to defeat this new enemy. They engage in battle and suffer losses, but can't subdue the tanks.

I liked the story and enjoyed the descriptions of the battles and give it four stars for being interesting and fun as Ritter and his men go to war, part science fiction and part old west. A fun novel. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Our American West by Gary McCarthy

The series Our American West by Gary McCarthy is a non-alphabetized compilation of the various heroes and villains and subjects like Mules and Camels and Railroads, just plain people, etc., that makes up the history of the West. There are a few typos and formatting problems throughout the four books but it was minor enough not to distract me from the narrative. Mister McCarthy covered many characters and subjects, some not well-known and others, very well-known among western writers in general.

From the Earps to the James brothers and Chisholm and Goodnight to Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill, I found the books a wealth of information and reference material and enjoyed them. There were short biographies and essays on various aspects of the West much to my liking and easy to read. Gary McCarthy is a fine writer and researches his material diligently and thoroughly. I give the series my best five-star rating and recommend them to all Western readers.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Silver Shot by Gary McCarthy

How time flies. April shot by like it was only a figment of my imagination and here it is almost the middle of May and past time to give my thoughts on Silver Shot, a novel by Gary McCarthy.

I met Mister McCarthy at the Wickenburg Book Festival on April 7th and he explained how he began writing his series of novels about the "Derby Man." I found it interesting and traded him a couple of my books for an autographed Derby Man book. He gave me two of them.

Anyway, I started with Silver Shot and liked it. Darby Buckingham is the name of the Derby Man, a writer who writes the old-fashioned shoot-'em-ups and he is just putting the finishing touches on his latest called The Pony Express War. in Silver City, Nevada. He hears a ruckus outside his hotel window and before he knows it, he's mixed up with Conrad Trent, a big mining stock manipulator. He and Trent get on opposite sides in the argument when Trent shoots a young Irishman who has stock in the Emerald Mine. Buckingham and Trent are both boxing enthusiasts, Darby, an ex-heavyweight champion, and Trent considers himself to be just as good. Neither would cheat in a match, would they? They soon are engaged in the manly art of fisticuffs under the Marquis of Queensbury Rules, which rules were practically foreign to Darby.

Darby writes a long letter to his girlfriend, Dolly Beavers, inviting her to come to Silver City, and you can guess where this is going. Dolly comes to town and finds out that Darby is mixed up with a Julie Bulette, a prominent lady of the night. Darby has a heckuva time getting out of the predicament he's in with Dolly and Conrad Trent. They all have or buy stock in the Emerald mine and are afraid of losing their money the way Trent is manipulating the stock.

Darby must take things in hand as soon as he and the Bulette woman get out of the mineshaft they have been tossed in to get them out of the way.

I enjoyed reading about the Comstock silver mine and the descriptions of Silver City as the protagonist digs out of the hole. Filled with action and suspense, it is an awesome story to behold and I look forward to reading more of the Derby Man.

I enjoyed meeting and chatting with Gary McCarthy, too, who lives in Arizona, a National  Award Winner and Spur Award Winner.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

U.S. Marshal Shorty Thompson by Paul L. Thompson

This episode of the Marshal Shorty Thompson series is Killing of Outlaws.  

In this wild story, the father of Betty Sue Gains is killed by the outlaw Bob Eaves and his gang of marauders and killers. Some mysterious and unknown person or persons are behind this killing and others, as Eaves and his men attempt to drive all the farmers out of the Mesilla Valley in New Mexico and Texas. The man wants all the land to plant cotton.

Betty Sue, a 14-15-year-old, is upset, to put it mildly, that her father was killed. She is going to kill every one of those marauders and outlaws so they can't do more harm to anyone. She needs to find out who is behind it and go get him or them, too. She checks in with the local sheriff in Mesilla and they work together to find out the bigwigs behind all the killing. In no short order, the outlaws start losing men and they can't figure out who the shooter is, thinking it may be a bounty hunter collecting the rewards on all the bad ones.

Sheriff Cole soon sends for Shorty for help. Betty Sue moves in with her friend's family (the Carters) now that she is home alone. She and Jody, the friend and teen-aged boy, spend time together and are familiar with each other, having grown up as close neighbors. Jody helps her out as much as he can, but doesn't really know what she is up to and can't connect the dead men with her. Shorty gets into Mesilla and learns what the situation is and thinks Betty Sue is in the way, always hanging around the sheriff and him.

She makes trips to Las Cruces to see the sheriff and hears about a gent named Glassman. She thinks Glassman is running the outlaws and soon shoots him and several of his men and the sheriff of Las Cruces. Glassman and the sheriff are only wounded.

As Shorty and the law begin to close in on the "big" man, named Jordan, Betty Sue has wiped out the Eaves gang. Glassman goes to El Paso to heal up and hire more gunmen. A trap is set for the new men and Glassman and Jordan as the story begins to wind down.

This is an action-packed novel that kept me interested all the way to the end and that, too. The only thing that I didn't like about it was the misspellings and not paying close attention to the narrative (missing/adding words,etc.). The cowboy dialect was used off and on throughout, which covered over some mistakes and POV was not always clear. Overall, I enjoyed the story that had me on edge throughout to see what happens next. I give it four stars and will read more of the Shorty Thompson books as time allows.