Friday, July 01, 2016

Forgotten Books: The Man From Nowhere - T.T. Flynn


T.T. Flynn has been one of my favorite Western pulp authors for quite a while, and I think the novels he wrote in the Fifties are even better than his pulp stories. The title character of THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, published by Dell in 1958, is Roger Travis, who, after his wife is killed by Indians, abandons his ranch in Wyoming and goes to South America, where he’s believed to have been killed in an avalanche.

But Travis isn’t dead, and when he finally returns to the States to try to make a fresh start in life, he finds that his identity has been taken over by a stranger. Travis, now calling himself Clay Mara (Flynn doesn’t explain why he chooses that name), sets out to track down the thief, and the trail leads to a ranch in New Mexico owned by the father of a friend who really was killed in that South American avalanche. This is a pretty complicated set-up that would have worked, with some adjustments, as a contemporary hardboiled crime novel, which isn’t surprising because Flynn’s Westerns usually have some sort of crime element and he also wrote detective fiction for the pulps.

The plot gets even more complex as Travis/Mara finds himself in the middle of a range war as well as a couple of overlapping romantic triangles. Flynn is always in control of the various threads of his story, and his characters are really well-developed. Travis/Mara is definitely the hero of the story, but all the other characters are a mixture of good and bad and I wasn’t sure who to root for along the way or how things were going to turn out. That makes for some pretty compelling reading. Throw in some fine, gritty action scenes and you have a really top-notch Western novel. THE MAN FROM NOWHERE is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and if you’re a Western fan I give it a high recommendation.

3 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Me want. Gonna see if I can find this

Richard Robinson said...

Or even not a western fan, it sounds like. I might try it.

Kurt Reichenbaugh said...

I discovered T.T. Flynn thanks to your blog. I found two collections from Leisure paperbacks: Hell's Canyon and Reunion at Cottonwood Station that I really enjoyed. I'll keep on the lookout for more of his books.