Sunday, January 13, 2013

#1: The Red Hills by James W. Marvin

The antihero called Crow joins the U.S. Calvary, just ahead of a modest skirmish called Little Big Horn, in The Red Hills, James W. Marvin's first Western featuring his cold-blooded protagonist.

This novel comes from the so-called Piccadilly Cowboys, (follow this part closely) British writers who wrote Italian-flavored American Westerns in their heyday from the 60s forward.  Marvin obviously read George Gilman's Edge rather closely (and I think even obliquely references the character), probably the grandaddy of all the tarnished heroes of this genre.

But Crow tries to outdo Edge, as the novel opens with the senseless killing of a child's dog, which sets the stage for further unpleasantness involving casual murder and generally repugnant behavior.  In The Caine Mutiny style, a commanding officer is introduced who is even more repellent, and soon Crow sets his sights on revenge.

Interesting, but generally unpleasant, Western for those who like a more tough-minded oater.  I bought this for my beloved Kindle and read it quickly for my first novel of 2013.

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