Thursday, October 13, 2016

Snakehand - Chuck Dixon and John Neal

Town-taming lawman Joe Wiley was once a Comanchero, an outlaw and a killer so fast on the draw he's come to be known as Snakehand. However, an unexpected tragedy leads him to change his ways. Now with his blind mentor and sidekick, the former leader of the Comanchero band, Joe travels from town to town in the West, taking on the job of bringing law and order to the worst hellholes between the Mississippi and the Pacific. It's that job that brings him to the settlement known as Mercury Wells, but what he finds waiting for him there is worse than he ever expected and will change his life again.

This is the first Western novel by comics scripting legend Chuck Dixon, along with his co-author John Neal, and it's a rip-snorting tale that barrels along at full speed, an action-packed blend of the pulp, the traditional, and the Spaghetti Westerns. The violence is reminiscent of the Edge books by George G. Gilman and other series produced by the Piccadilly Cowboys during the Seventies, the settings are well rendered, and while Joe Wiley may not always be the most likable guy, he's a fine protagonist. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series. Recommended.

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