Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Novel by Paul Lederer Writing as C.J. Sommers, Entitled "Climax"

Giles Frost is an easy-going type of cowboy and accepts the world as it is. He is just trying to live his life without too much interference from the world around him, and right now he is the Marshal in the crummy little desert town of Climax. Frost enjoys his work and daily routine of checking the doors of the businesses, what few there are, along his walks around the gray wood and peeling paint points of interest. It has been this way for the three years he has been Town Marshal. This morning he stops in to say howdy to the stable owner, who tells him that he is going to have to divvy up the few dollars for keeping his horse from now on, as the town decided it doesn't have the money. Nothing ever happens in Climax, or not much in the way of lawbreaking, and that night he gets shot on his rounds.

When he wakes up, he is in the home of Clara Finch, who tells him, "I don't like you, Giles Frost,"
and the Mayor comes by to tell him he's been fired from being the Town Marshal, "The town can't afford it."

Well, there was much more going on that he didn't know about and as soon as he feels recovered enough, he draws all his money out of the bank and heads out to talk to the one friend that may give him a job or help him out, Anson Weaver, owner of the Liberty Bell Ranch. He saved Weaver's life a few years' back. Weaver has a pretty daughter and a son who wants to go to medical school in St. Louis to find out how he can save his father who is dying from the lung disease. Frost feels a tingle in his heart for Ada, the daughter. And the plot thickens as Frost gets beat up by some of Weaver's men in the dark and ends up in a bed in the spare room with Ada looking out for him. Rumors are floating that some outlaws want to take over the town of Climax and use it for their headquarters. On the way out of Climax he met a man named Tate, Barrett Tate, a Sheriff looking for one Charles Mansir for murder in Winona.

I've told you too much already, but Frost gets shot again down by the Sabine Creek, not mortally, but bad and in a couple of days didn't feel well enough, but heads for Bisbee. He runs into another lawman, Deputy Sheriff, Orlando Marsh, who is looking for his boss, Barrett Tate. Marsh thought maybe something had happened to him because he hadn't returned to Winona.

Frost had been shot twice and beat up once and wasn't looking for anything but a place to get away from it all for a while, but Marsh talks him into riding into Climax to look for Tate.

Darn! There I go again telling the story instead of reviewing it. Anyway, coming up is a big night battle for Climax against all the outlaws who had gathered to join up with that greedy Charles Mansir. Does Frost get shot again? Or, beat up? Or, who wins or loses? Ada Weaver or Clara Finch?The story progresses to a fine ending that surprised me. Plenty of action, mystery, suspense, and humor in this engrossing tale of the Old West.

This was an e-book available from Amazon by C. J. Sommers (Paul Lederer), who has written several Westerns including Tecumseh and the Indian Heritage series. He is originally from Texas.
Published by Open Road Integrated Media. Around 120 pages.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Shut Mouth Society, a Novel by James D. Best

The Shut Mouth Society is a mystery story in which Greg Evarts, a Santa Barbara police detective gets involved in looking for certain documents revolving around Abe Lincoln's pre-inaugural speech which is laid out in the Prologue. Evarts has a friend, Abraham Douglass, a descendant of Frederick Doublass, who asks Evarts to have a historical document looked at to determine its authenticity and along with the document is a page of numerical codes that needs to be decoded. Evarts contacts one Patricia Baldwin, History Professor and Lincoln expert, and almost falls too much for her, or did he?.

The next thing you know is that Douglass has been murdered by a person or persons unknown trying to get their hands on the document for some reason. A false charge that Evarts is the Rock Burglar  has the local police looking to arrest him, so he and Baldwin leave town to avoid arrest and the people looking for the document. They drive across country to Boston, hoping they have lost the man/men looking for the document. We learn that both Evarts' and Baldwin's ancestors were involved somehow in this unknown Shut Mouth Society and it has filtered down to them with the document somehow concealing the connection. This mystery takes them from Boston to New York to Washington, D.C., and to North Carolina before they get to the bottom of it.

There is plenty of action and suspense that follows the two along on there course of discovery. So much so, that Evarts must contact some of his old Army buddies to help protect them and the papers that people want really bad, bad enough to kill anyone who gets in their way.

This book kept me hooked and I hated to turn away from it unfinished, which I had to do only two times. It was 322 pages long and it's been a while since I read one that long and was so engrossed in it. Mister Best is a fine writer and I am looking forward to dipping into his westerns and see how they read.  Mystery, action, suspense, and more all there in an exciting tale of intrigue. 

Windows Ten

Upgraded from 8.1 or 2 and everything seems to be going swell. I like the Edge browser for its speed. Haven't opened Cortana yet. The new Edge start page is okey-dokey, bit I still have all my icons from 8.1. Will keep 'em for now. I like the News that shows up on opening Edge, lots of it. Haven't run into any difficulties, yet. Will keep my fingers crossed. Didn't lose any files, etc., that I know of. I guess I'm stuck with the free version. The price was right, but might have to pay to upgrade Office. I have 2010 and it's okay.

Maybe my Favorites will work now. Never did with the previous, but I don't have many.

Anyone else happy with Win Ten?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An Elmer Kelton Novel, After the Bugles

So far, I haven't ran across a book I didn't like and this one, After the Bugles, by Elmer Kelton was no exception. Maybe I just like the western genre no matter how bad the plot or the writing, and to me Bugles  stood up well with the competition. There was certainly no bad writing or bad plot in it.
Joshua Buckalew and Ramon Hernandez are returning home after the battle of San Jacinto where Santa Ana was defeated. They must remain vigilant for Mexican raiders, outlaws posing as friends, and Comanche Indians. Josh's wife was a sister of Ramon and she had been killed in a raid by the Comanches and several homes were burned and people routed by Mexican raiders while they were off fighting the war. The two run into friends and enemies, and no matter how well Ramon fought in the war, there were some whites who couldn't and wouldn't get along with any Mexican.

Finally reaching home and finding their homes burned, except Ramon's, Josh and other whites they met along the trail are desperate to get their crops in before summer is too far gone. They all join up to help each other and even build a cabin for Josh, but the Mexicans are still hated by some of the party and attempt to kill Romon after they had stayed at his ranchero to recoup and make plans for the future. Unlucky for them, the Comanches attack and make short work of the two that shot at Ramon. One of them had shot the other sister of Ramon, who was supposedly in love with Josh. She had caused a fight between Josh and Ocie Quitman and Josh barely won the knock down dragout, but will she marry Josh? In the battle with the Comanches the novel reaches the end of the road and everything is resolved in one way or another.

I enjoyed this one, too, but will keep reading and looking for one I can't appreciate as much. But, why? Hell, I don't know. I just like to keep the Western markets in business - an impossible task.

The book pictured is a First Edition by Ballantine Books, price 50 cents, printed in 1967. It looks like it had been sitting in the sun for a while because it was beginning to fall apart. The pages are brownish, fragile, and torn in a few places. I picked it up at an antique shop, not a book store, and luckily all the pages were still in it. It had doubled in price to $1.29 used. The cover came off while reading, so I repaired it with masking tape. Available from Amazon for $6.99 or other choices from $0.01.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ron Scheer's Glossary of Western Terms

I'm finding it fairly difficult to write a review on a book that has no plot, setting, or action,
just a listing of terms and words, but here goes.

The terms were compiled in alphabetical order by Ron Scheer in his book How the West Was Written, Volume Three. They are terms, words, slang, colloquialisms, that were used by the early western writers in their manuscripts to reflect the language or vernacular of the cowboys, miners, farmers, etc., that populate the works. Some are very colorful and others not, but they got the point across that the character was trying to make. But, why does a westerner talk this way instead of using everyday "normal" language. In some cases, he may have been brought up this way and inherited the terms from his parents or other family members, like a hand-me-down. In other cases, the person may have just came from the "civilized" world back east and picks up the terms for his own usage and to blend in to make others think he is a true westerner. In any event, the glossary covers them from "A to Izzard" to "zanjero". A couple of examles:
        "blam-jam" = a mild expletive for "damned: "We can't get that blam-jam handcar up to Palisade and back without somethin' more than four-man power." A. B. Ward, The Sage Brush Parson.
         "megrims" = depression, unhappiness.  "Overtaken by the megrims, the philosopher may seek relief in soliloquoy." O. Henry, Heart of the West.

The research on this was prodigious and required much reading and time by Mr. Scheer for which many western writers are thankful that finally someone put all these terms into a handy-dandy glossary.

I consider Ron a friend even though I didn't know him personally but through blogging. I enjoyed reading his blog posts because he had his own eloquent language that made them interesting. His Volume Three, Glossary, will live on even though Ron's life ended too soon from the "devil" cancer. We will miss him, but his works will be of benefit to many authors for the years to come.

This book and the first two volumes of How the West was Written are available from Amazon and Beat to a Pulp Press of David Cranmer, Publisher.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Hell Bent Kid, a Novel by Charles O. Locke

This story takes place in North Texas and New Mexico. It seems this hell bent kid is boxed in. He is called "Tot", but his real name is Tate, Tate Lohman, and he has been working for a while on the Restow ranch and thinking about leaving for Socorro, New Mexico, to be with his father. His father and he were the only family members left, except for his brother Harley and who knew where he was and what he was doing. "Tot" was hired by Henry Restow because "Tot" killed Shorty Boyd and was on probation. The murder was self defense, but the Boyd family thought otherwise.

Restow warned the young kid that if he left the ranch, the Boyds would chase him down and kill him, but he left for Socorro anyway figuring to outsmart the Boyds or miss them altogether. He didn't, he ran smack dab into 'em and ended up afoot, but still alive. And his journey to Socorro gets interesting and I didn't know if he was going to make it or not. After a horrible trip, he finally makes it and finds his brother Harley,but the meeting doesn't last long after he finds his father no longer among the living.

"Tot" turns back to Texas but stays at the ranch of Amos Bradley in Santa Clara, New Mexico, and falls for a daughter, Juanita. The story ends as he is under surveillance by the Boyds again. I won't reveal the ending, but I will say this was a terrific tale by the author. Mister Locke peppered the story with local idioms and dialogue which took a little getting used to, but by the end it was just part of the story, became less noticeable, and adds to it. I give this story a five-star rating. The author's bio says the novel "was one of the top twenty-five western novels of all time [states] the Western Writers of America . . . [and made into a movie, From Hell to Texas.]"

(I reviewed the book at the request of Open Road Media and will share it on Facebook, Twitter, and maybe other places where it shows up.)

NOTE: The header picture is the old Prescott (AZ) Courthouse seen through the trees from Gurley Street.