Thursday, December 29, 2022

#43: Gun Protege by Shad Denver

An aging sheriff abruptly retires, and a town leader with a strong hand appoints an inexperienced clerk as the new sheriff; unfortunately, a pair of vengeance-minded brothers are heading their way in Shad Denver's Gun Protege.

I stumbled across a small collection of the hard-to-find Australian paperback Cleveland Westerns and have been reading them steadily.  I thought they were by a whole bunch of different authors, but several I picked up in a row have actually been by the prolific Desmond Robert Dunn, under various names.

Again Dunn writes an above-average western with a few surprises, including the secret motivation of the retired sheriff (albeit overall sharing a few similarities with another Dunn western I read recently, Danton's Day).

Cleveland Westerns are fast reads but often lightly sketched in; this "Shad Denver" one has a bit more to offer.  Enjoyable.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

#42: Brood X by Joshua Dysart

In 1950s Indiana, a group of itinerant workers are brought to a remote woods to dig a bomb shelter; but when they unearth a once-in-a-lifetime brood of cicadas, they begin dying one by one in Joshua Dysart's Brood X.

Dysart is primarily a comic-book writer, and this slender volume of pulp fiction comes from TKO Rogue, an imprint of TKO Comics.  

It seems natural, then, that the novel is a little light on plotting and characterizations (and includes a few illustrations), but is eminently readable and very propulsive, rocketing to a somewhat surprising ending.

Dysart has a steady hand with the proceedings, and this was a good, light one to read over Christmas Break, after receiving it for the holidays.

Monday, December 26, 2022

#41: Shifty's Boys by Chris Offutt

A tough military policeman, currently stateside because of an injury, finds navigating the backwoods and hollers of his rural home as difficult as anything he's experienced in Chris Offutt's Shifty's Boys.

Offutt's follow-up to The Killing Hills finds our tarnished protagonist trying to manage his relationship with his sister (the local sheriff) as well as a promise to a local drug lord to look into the death of her son, a heroin dealer, whose murder law enforcement feels is best left alone.

Another chewy serving of tough Kentucky noir, with sure-handed characters and blistering action.  Really a great new contemporary series.

I checked this out from the Henry County-New Castle Public Library in New Castle, Indiana and read it quickly.