Thursday, 31 December 2009


It has been a good year for the Black Horse Western with many of the writers appearing in the various best seller charts. What with Jack Martin's debut novel hogging the No 1 spot for weeks on end like The Beatles did some years back. Lance Howard had one week with seven slots out of ten. And two other debut novels by Terry James and Thomas McNulty took the No 1 spot as well.
More importantly it is good to see that more and more people are reading Black Horse Westerns.
2009 saw the return of Terry Murphy after a long absence and 2010 will see long awaited new novels from Chuck Tyrell and Derek Rutherford.
A couple of BHW writers, while still riding for the brand, have branched out to publish their new novels. Notably, Chap O'Keefe with his paperback editions under the BHE label and Neil Hunter who has self published the latest Jason Brand novel 'Devil's Gold'.
My own personal favourites of the year were Terry James 'Long Shadows'. I have to admit to a bit of a bias here as Terry James deals, in part, with memory loss (something that I know about). Other western writers like Louis L'Amour have touched on the subject as in 'A Man Called Noon' but Terry James took the idea further.
Another that engrossed me was Ross Morton's 'The $300 Man'. Not only was his hero Corbin Molina disbled by the loss of his hand but Ross Morton through his character made the reader realise that Molina was en-abled. Top class writing.
David Whitehead is one of those writers who you would think was born in the saddle and a Colt .45 strapped to his waist and not London's East End. This year he collaborated with Alfred Wallon to produce 'All Guns Blazing' under the name of Doug Thorne.
It is good to see that some of David Whitehead's earlier books are to be reprinted.
Finally, Rory Black, an alias for writer Michael D.George,keeps his Iron Eyes series alive. The character is not your usual brand of hero - he is scarred and flawed - but the delivery is of the kind that says - well, to me - can't wait for the next one.
Reviews of books and authors mentioned here can be found at Western Fiction Review ( along with many other Black Horse Westerns released during 2009.
Well, that's my look at Black Horse Westerns for 2009.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Respected western writer Jim Griffin is the author of Part 22 of this exciting adventure. It can be found at The Culbin Trail (
Parts 1-16 and 17-21 can be found at this site as well.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Arnold Schwarzenegger is the iconic Terminator.
At least that is what I thought until I watched both seasons of 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles'.
It is not easy to top the original Terminator but Summer Glau as Cameron does do just that. I don't think that I have seen anyone of late who has that magical screen presence that Summer Glau brings to the role. Her actions are controlled and her face expressionless yet manages to convey so much that she commands attention and dominates her scenes even when she is just standing in the background.

Summer Glau was born in San Antonio, Texas back in 1981 and trained to be a ballerina until an accident ended that career. So she took to acting by appearing in an episode of 'Angel' as - a ballerina. As an actor she appeared in several episodes of 'The Unit' and 'The 4400' as well as playing River Tam in the series 'Firefly' and the movie follow up 'Serenity'. None of which I've seen.

As the Terminator, Cameron, Summer Glau has made the role her own and I hope that she gets the opportunity to reprise the role in a movie version.
Yet, Summer Glau, does have an ambition. With '3:10 To Yuma' as one of her favourite western movies she would love to play a role in a western movie. Hope she gets her wish.

Thursday, 24 December 2009


Season's Greetings to everyone who passes by this way.

If you want some good festive reading may I suggest:
INN TIME a Seasonal Short Story to be found at
A bit of festive - he says with a chuckle - fare at

Wednesday, 23 December 2009


Back in 1859 when Charles Dickens took over the magazine 'All The Year Round' he followed a formula that had been used in 'Household Words'. In 'All The Year Round' he wrote the first chapter for a story called 'The Haunted Mansion' and Wilkie Collins, Mrs. (Elizabeth) Gaskell, Adelaide Proctor, George Sala and Hesba Stretton followed on with a chapter each.
140 years on and a bunch of western writers and enthusiasts are following on with that tradition with 'The Story With No Name'.
The Story With No Name continues with part 21 from Black Horse Western writer, Jack Martin, over at The Tainted Archive ( where you can find connections to the previous 20 parts.
Jack Martin made his Black Horse Western debut this year with the publication of 'The Tarnished Star' and, already at the top of the best seller charts, 'Arkansas Smith' to be published next March.
Jack Martin, also, has a short story 'The Gimp' in the forthcoming Express Westerns Anthology 'A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS' where there are stories by other contributors to 'The Story With No Name' like I.J.Parnham, Jack Giles, Chuck Tyrell and Peter Averillo.
AND don't forget there is a chance for you to get your hands on a copy before the publication date of 31st Janauary 2010.
For the USA check out
For the UK and the Rest Of The World go to

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books - THE EDGE OF THE SWORD by Anthony Farrer-Hockley

Well, this is the final Friday's Forgotten Book of 2009.
Next year will be the 70th anniversaries of various events of World War 2.
Also it will be the 60th Anniversary of that 'forgotten' war known as The Korean War.
That is what 'THE EDGE OF THE SWORD' is about. Although, the story in this book is fact, Anthony Farrer-Hockley writes this book in such a way that it is like reading a rivetting novel.
The opening part of the book involves the role played by the 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment - known as the Glorious Glosters.
It follows the battle that took place between 22nd April 1951 to the 25th April 1951 leading up to the Glosters' last stand on Hill 235 while defending the eastern crossing of the Imjin River. The battle itself was epic in scale. By the time orders came through to pull back Hill 235 was surrounded by the Chinese army.
This last stand not only ensured that the Belgian and American forces fell back on a prepared UN line but that the road to Seoul was firmly shut against the advancing Chinese Army.
Eventually, the hill fell to the Chinese and the survivors of the Glosters were taken prisoner. From here on Anthony Farrer-Hockley tells of the dreadful conditions; the interrogations in the Pyongyang Political Prison where he underwent
with other, pyschological treatment aimed at capturing the mind and spirit as well as the body. Also life with the Chinese both in the camp and outside of it. For Farrer-Hockley made several amazing and gripping escape attempts.
The Battle Of The Imjin River earned the Glorious Glosters two Victoria Crosses, a George Cross and several D.S.Os. And a Unit Citatation from the US Army.
From a quiet opening, the lull before the hectic scenes of battle to the tension of the escape attempts this book, rarely, lets the reader take a pause.
One of the best books about the Korean War.


'Achtung Spitfeuer!'
It is 1940 and Britain stands alone against the German might. Spitfires, Hurricanes, Defiants and antiquated Gloster Gladiators and Fairey Battles are the only aircraft that can stop Hitler from crossing the English Channel.
To mark the 70th Anniversary of The Battle Of Britain Commando Comics have released a new anthology of 10 stories that feature tales of the air war.
These stories range through that of a Czech pilot who has to become a fighter ace because his name is Richtofen. The sons of two World War One aces find themselves in confrontation. Then there are the stories of revenge.
The magic of Commando Comics is not just in the stories but in the black and white illustrations. In this collection they are 25% larger than the originals so that the details stand out. Not only that but it is handy for those of us with aging eyes.
This volume comes with an introduction by former Commando editor, George Low, and a forward by Calum Laird, the current editor.
Good Christmas gift. Like the logo says 'Commando for action and adventure'.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Western writer Evan Lewis is the author of part 20 of this exciting western adventure and can be found at Laurie Powers Wild West (

If you haven't read the story before then you can find parts 1 through 16 at The Culbin Trail (
Part 17 by Peter Averillo is at Open Range (
Part 18 by Robert S. Napier is at The Cap'n's Blog (
Part 19 by Richard Prosch at Meridian Bridge (

Part 21 is destined to come from Jack 'The Gimp' Martin and will be found next week on The Tainted Archive. Jack Martin is the author of the chart topping 'The Tarnished Star' and the forthcoming 'Arkansas Smith'.

Many of the authors who have contributed to The Story With No Name are western writers - some write for Robert Hale's Black Horse Western brand.
They have banded together under the Express Western banner to produce a new anthology of western short stories under the title 'A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS'. While many of the contributors are old hands, others are new to the genre.
Don't forget there is a good deal going here. The book will be published on the 31st January 2010 but if you want a copy in advance and with FREE shipping check out the details at:
For the USA - Davy Crockett's Almanack (
For the UK and the Rest Of The World - The Culbin Trail.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


One comic strip that I read religiously was the James Bond strip in the Daily Express. Whenever and wherever we were on holiday I would rush down to the newsagents and pick up a copy just to be able to read the strip before my dad took his time reading the news.
Another advantage was that every new Bond book was serialised in the Sunday Express.
A while back Titan Books brought out the strips in individual volumes. Now, at last, Titan Books have produced the first volume so that many of the strips are now in one place.
The original strips were illustrated by John McLusky to scripts from Anthony Hern, Peter O'Donnell and Henry Gammidge.
In this edition there is a foreward by former Bond, Sir Roger Moore.
Volume 001 contains the likes of 'Casino Royale', 'Live And Let Die' through to 'Thunderball' with two stories from 'A View To A Kill'.

Volume 002 is due out in 2010 and will contain the strips for the remainder of the novels plus more.


When Patti Abbott suggested that the subject for last week's Forgotten Books be subtitled Forgotten Kids Books I was left with a problem.
Sure there were children's books tucked away back in my childhood. Toby Twirl (a pig version of Rupert Bear), Nicholas Thomas, Rupert Bear, The Little Red Engine, Enid Blyton's Famous Five Books, the Jennings series and Biggles.
Good as they were there was a lot more to grab my interest.
Whether it was a curse or a blessing I could read and write before I went to school.
I went through 'Old Lob' and the school reading books like a hot knife through butter. The teachers couldn't keep up.
Although I read comics like the 'Eagle' I much preferred 'Adventure', 'Wizard', 'Rover' and 'Hotspur' - no pictures just words.
Then I bought a book by P.R.Reid called 'The Colditz Story'. An adult book published by Pan in 1954 that cost 2/- (10p in modern money). It would change my reading habits. Edgar Wallace, Peter Cheyney, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and, a new writer at the time, Ian Flemming. James Bond's adventure 'Live And Let Die' wasn't the standard fare for your normal 10 year old. OK so some of it went over my head then but not so later. My favourite line was just after Felix Leiter got chewed up and someone said that 'He disagreed with something that ate him'.
Mind you my taste in books got me in to trouble. Flemming's 'Diamonds Are Forever' got confiscated by my dad because Tiffany Case was pictured on the cover just wearing a black bra and panties. Though rather tame when compared to some of the book covers of the time. The only other time I had a book confiscated was just as the 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' scandal broke. I had just bought it when the announcement came that this Penguin edition was to be banned. I still have that copy today.
As my school years drew to a close I discovered Nelson Algren's 'Walk On The Wild Side'; Grace Metallious's 'Peyton Place' and Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road'. The shape of the novel seemed to be changing. The dawn of The Angry Young Men was taking shape with the likes of John Osborne, Alan Sillitoe, John Braine and their like and the 'X' rated films of their books. And while kids my age were trying to sneak into the movies I was reading the books.
But these were the books and authors of my childhood and I have no regrets.
Biggles was good but James Salter's 'The Hunters' was better.

Monday, 14 December 2009


Following on from the success of the first anthology 'WHERE LEGENDS RIDE' Express Westerns are proud to announce the publication of a new anthology of 21 new western stories under the name 'A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS'.
'A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS' will be avilable to order via or on-line retailers like Amazon from the 31st January 2010.
The 21 Stories are:
Dead Man Talking by Derek Rutherford
Billy by Lance Howard
Lonigan Must Die! by Ben Bridges
The Man Who Shot Garfield Delaney by I.J.Parnham
Half A Pig by Matthew P.Mayo
Bloodhound by C.Courtney Joyner
More Than Meets The Eye by Gillian F.Taylor
Big Enough by Chuck Tyrell
One Day In Liberty by Jack Giles
Shadows On The Horizon by Bobby Nash
On The Run by Alfred Wallon
The Gimp by Jack Martin
Visitors by Ross Morton
The Nighthawk by Michael D.George
The Pride Of The Crocketts by Evan Lewis
Darke Justice by Peter Avarillo
Angelo And The Strongbox by Cody Wells
Crib Girls by Kit Churchill
Man Of Iron by Chuck Tyrell
Cash Laramie And The Masked Devil by Edward A Grainger
Dead Man Walking by Lee Walker

Many of the writers in this new anthology are seasoned hands but there are some who are new comers to the western genre.
'A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS' rides a full range of stories that cover birth, life and death; from soiled doves to daring robberies and dangerous man hunts bringing the story of the west to life.
'A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS' was edited by Nik Morton with sub-editor Charles Whipple with an introduction by respected western writer James Reasoner.

Now for a limited period if anyone can't wait until the 31st January there are some pretty good deals around at the moment. These can be found at either Davy Crockett's Almanack ( for folks in the US. For the UK and the Rest Of The World head on over to The Culbin Trail ( This is an offer not to be missed.

Facebook it. Twitter it. My Space it. Bebo it. Podcast it.
An anthology like 'A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS' needs to be celebrated for all 21 stories are BRAND NEW. Unique in a climate where caution and reprints abound.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books - THE OFFENDERS by R.H.Ward

THE OFFENDERS by R.H.Ward was first published 1960 by Cassell & Co. Ltd and issued in paperback by Pan Books in 1962.

What a difference a distance of close enough 50 years makes.
Way back when the paperback edition was brand new, and made for rivetting reading to a youngster just starting out to learn about commuting, this book stuck in my mind because the hero, Benjamin Shreave, was the same age as me.
Schooldays were still fresh in my mind.
Benjamin Shreave is a 17 year old public school boy attending Elvey College. He is a monitor and lives a just about surviving life as he waits for his final year to end. He has already won a University scholarship.
Into his life walks Floria Colby who is half-Italian and the neice of the school's headmaster. Benjamin starts skipping school to go on walks with Floria through the woods and, eventually, the inevitable happens.
They nearly get caught when they go skinny dipping in the local pond at midnight.
Of course, a scandal erupts but for all the wrong reasons and Benjamin finds himself being sent home.
So for close to 50 years that is the story that I remember.
Coming across this book recently I looked forward to re-reading it.
Although all the story was there that I recalled there was a lot more to the story than met my younger eyes.
The story was set in the 1930s but the elements of this book can be transferred into today's setting.
The title of the book does not just refer to the main characters - each of the other characters in the book 'offend' in their own way.
There is Harker Lingard the housemaster who's own imagination reveals a part of his character that will destroy him.
Charles Clarke, a manipulative bully who is allowed to become too powerful.
Tullia Falder, Harker Lingard's sister, who supports her brother and not her husband, Neil, who is too close to Benjamin but is the voice of reason.
Finally, there is Floria's uncle the Reverend Walter Colby. For in Floria, this religious man, finds memories of a brief affair with her mother.
For 1960 this book touched on many issues that are commonplace today - for then not so much not enough to make an impact on my own 16 year old mind.
The blurb on the back of the book states that this story has 'The candour of 'Young Love' (a Danish novel by Johannes Allen) and the insight of (Sloan Wilson's)'A Summer Place'.
R.H.Ward, who died in 1969, writes with depth and style that gives a novel that three dimensional feel.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Richard Prosch at Meridian Bridge is the author of part 19 of The Story With No Name.
This can be found at

If you are new to the story then parts 1 to 16 can be read in one go at The Culbin Trail or

Part 18 came courtesy of Peter Averillo at Open Range

Part 19 by Robert Napier at The Cap'n's Blog -

Saturday, 5 December 2009

RICHARD TODD 1919 - 2009

On the 3rd December 2009 the iconic British Actor, Richard Todd, died in his sleep at his home in Grantham, Lincolnshire.
During the Second World War the raid on the German dams was planned here and carried out by 617 Squadron known as The Dam Busters who were based at the Lincolnshire airfield at Scampton.
The squadron was led by Wing Commander Guy Gibson - a role that would always be associated with the actor, Richard Todd.
During World War 2, Captain Richard Todd parachuted into France and was one of the first men to step onto French soil at the opening of the Normandy invasion on the 6th June 1944. Capturing the Pegasus Bridge he held the position until the arrival of John Howard's glider borne troops.
In the movie 'The Longest Day' Richard Todd played the part of John Howard and found it weird to meet up with Captain Todd played by another actor.
Richard Todd made his movie debut in the film 'The Hasty Heart' but it is his military roles in such films as 'Danger Within', 'Yangtse Incident' and 'D-Day: The 6th June' that he is remembered. But he was versatile with portrayals in other films such as 'Robin Hood And His Merrie Men', 'Rob Roy'. 'The Boys' and 'The Big Sleep'.
Richard Todd was the first choice to play James Bond in 'Dr. No' but commitments elsewhere gave Sean Connery the part.
A talent that will be sadly missed.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


The Story With No Name - continues with Part 18 over at The Cap'n's Blog (

Parts 1-16 can be read at one sitting at The Culbin Trail (
Part 17 can be found at Open Range (

Also, at The Culbin Trail are details of the publication of this new anthology from Express Westerns. This anthology contains 21 brand new stories from both old hands and those new to the genre.