Thursday 28 April 2011


I love the cover to this book as it reminds me of the old pulps and Jeff Arnold and The Riders Of The Range Annuals.

The Secret Of Devil's Canyon has Nathaniel McBain and Shackleton Frost escorting convicted killer Cooper Metcalf to the Bear Creek pen. Of course, the prisoner protests that he is innocent - and maybe he is but Mayor Maxwell is dead and his daughter, Narcissa, is missing believed killed. On the evidence alone it looks as though Metcalf is guilty as hell.
Then there is Deputy Albright (who doesn't live up to his name) and his posse who want to see justice done. He wants the killer to hang but not before he has confessed to what he has done with Narcissa's body.
So...the chase is on through the labyrinth that is Devil's Canyon.
Joining the fray is Jim Dragon, an expert bone collector who is having a private war with bone thief Paul Dulaine (two characters who deserve a book of their own). Also, Emily Seymour who is not exactly on the level but saves Metcalf with a wild ride down a forty five degree canyon wall.
And the's all in the bones of the story.
I J Parnham delivers another great tale featuring Nathaniel McBain, a recurring character, along with a host of new and interesting characters.
This book is a Black Horse Western from Robert Hale Ltd and is already available from the usual outlets.

Nor is there a long wait for the next book from this author as the next BHW from I J Parnham, 'The Prairie Man' comes out on the 31st August 2011.


Several authors who contributed to the Express Western's anthology 'A Fistful Of Legends' have been talking to Book Life ( about the west. Among the contributors are Matthew P. Mayo, Ross Morton, Charles Whipple, Alfred Wallon, C. Courteney Joyner and me.
This is a 3 part series of articles where everything is so neatly spliced together to produce a whole that is both enlightening and insightful


At long last the Wild West Monday initiative seems to be paying dividends. Black Horse Westerns along with other western titles have their own section in the Waterstones bookshops.
Not just western fiction as their non-fiction has some good titles amongst which was James Reasoner's 'Draw' and Dan Rottenberg's 'Death Of A Gunfighter' - the quest for Jack Slade the west's most elusive legend.
W.H.Smith seem to be dragging their heels but a three novel omnibus by Zane Grey was spotted in their Croydon store.

Chap O'Keefe is letting Misfit Lil loose on the e-book market. This series has a female lead and is worth taking the time out to read.

Thursday 14 April 2011


This comes from a 1942 edition of 'Good Housekeeping'.
It had been the author's job for several months to arrange parcels of books for the officers and men who were being held as p.o.w. The most frequently asked questions were just what kind of books did these men want to read.
"For the men I'd put blood and thunder Westerns first," writes Jean Heal before adding thrillers and light fiction.

The full article is included in a book called 'The Home Front: The Best of Good Housekeeping 1939 - 1945'. A book that includes contributions from C.S.Forester, Lloyd George, John Steinbeck and Daphne Du Maurier

Thursday 7 April 2011


Yang (Jang Dong Gun)is a warrior charged with ending a feud with a rival clan. However, the last enemy is just a baby and he refuses to make the killing blow. As a fugitive from the clan, Yang makes his way to the American west - to the town of Lode that is inhabited by circus folk. Here he befriends Lynne (Kate Bosworth)and together they open up a laundry and bring up the baby between them.
The clan are not behind waiting to hear the sound of Yang's singing sword.
Come Christmas and The Colonel (Danny Huston)arrives with his gang. There is history between The Colonel and Lynne for it was she who left him disfigured and he now wears a leather mask.
Yang wades in and the sword begins to sing.
At the same time the town drunk, Ron (Geoffrey Rush) decides to sober up and dig up his rifle. Outlaws and townspeople have to team up as the clans attack in what is a climatic bloodbath. Lynne has her showdown with the Colonel and Yang faces his mentor.
Not a great film but a good marriage of East and West with some brilliant set pieces. A sword practice to 'The Sailor's Hornpipe' is an instance that comes to mind. This is not a film to be taken seriously - it is pure fantasy and fun.

Wednesday 6 April 2011


Back in 1998 four young ladies in Stockholm, Sweden got together to form a punk rock band. By 2004, though, they had found their true calling in the world of heavy metal.
They are Mia 'Coldheart' Karlsson - guitar and lead vocals; Klara 'Force' Ronnqvist Fors - Guitar and Backing Vocals; Ida 'Evileye' Stenbach on Bass and drummer Jannicke 'Nicki Wicked' Lindstrom.
As a vocalist Mia Coldheart can kick ass and knows how to do it soft. Check out songs like Play Me Hard, My Heart Is Black or Bad Hangover on YouTube.
To date there have only been two albums - 'Til Death Do Us Party' and 'In Distortion We Trust'. It was from this latter album that they released their debut single 'Losing The Game' that peaked at no 8 on the Swedish charts.
Though they have, for the most part, toured in Europe and Scandinavia they did a gig with 'Motorhead' down in Folkestone, Kent and, later, recorded 'Killed By Death' on a Motorhead tribute album.
They are, currently, working on their third album.
For those with a liking for Heavy Metal then this all girl group is worth checking out.

Monday 4 April 2011

STARPACKER by David Whitehead

This book is a 1990 edition from the Black Horse Western brand.

Tom Hunter has served just half of a 10 year sentence at Yuma for the theft of silver bullion and the murder of a stage driver and the guard.
As it comes clear Hunter was framed and his arrival in the town of Carver is no accident. They want a town marshall and he sees that as a way to bring the true criminal to justice. Only when the confrontation arrives does Hunter realise how naive he had been.
Trouble is that his adversary, Jason Birchell, not only has an interest in the local paper but is a powerful man around town. A man who will use any means possible to discredit and kill his nemesis.
David Whitehead weaves his web and keeps the reader hooked to the end.
For anyone looking to read their first western then this book would fit the bill.
Look out for the Judge and Dury series and the Heller novels from this writer, too.