MISFIT LIL CLEANS UP - published October 2008 by Robert Hale Ltd under the Black Horse Western imprint.
Keith Chapman, who writes under the name of Chap O'Keefe, was born in Enfield in North London in 1943.
Writing was in his blood from an early age - his first written words appeared on 'Smiler's Page' in the 'Adventure' comic in 1955 - and he got paid for it.
Keith went into the world of publishing and going on to edit such things as the 'Sexton Blake Library'.
In the 1960s he was in Mitcham, Surrey where he was the editor of various British pocket comics like Western Adventure Library and Cowboy Adventure Library.
One of the difficulties that he encountered was matching covers with stories - an easy way around this was to send the cover to friends - like Vic J Hanson - to write a story to fit the picture.
I was an avid reader of these comics and the Sexton Blake stories.
Eventually, Keith took up the pen himself and began to write western novels for Robert Hale.
The first Chap O'Keefe novel that I read was 'SHOOTOUT AT HELLYER'S CREEK' the first of the Joshua Dillard novels. Dillard is an intriguing character for he is an ex-Pinkerton man who becomes a hired gun/detective. All the Joshua Dillard novels have that mystery element but Dillard, for all his hard work, never seems to profit from his skill.
Apart from the Joshua Dillard novels Chap O'Keefe has created a western heroine in the shape of Misfit Lil.
Chap O'Keefe has written a number of stand alone books amongst which is 'GHOST TOWN BELLES' which has to be one of my favourites. There is a hint of the deep south novels of Erskine Caldwell in the make-up of Mad Dan Dungaree and his daughters (the belles of the title).
The hero is not one of those quick draw artists but a gentle, out of work cow hand who is drawn into the story as he attempts to 'rescue' the belles.
Another book 'THE OUTLAW AND THE LADY' was recently reviewed on the blog Western Fiction Review (see side panel for the link).
Chap O'Keefe is an interesting and solid writer who almost saw the above book become a film. Pity that did not happened for his descriptive style is very visual.