Monday, January 01, 2018

The Bloody Spur - Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins


Famous gunfighter Caleb York is still the sheriff of Trinidad, in New Mexico Territory, and he has trouble on his hands again as several newcomers arrive in Trinidad in the opening pages of THE BLOODY SPUR, the third novel in this series by Max Allan Collins based on characters created by Mickey Spillane.

The new arrivals in town are a representative of the Santa Fe Railroad, which wants to build a spur line to Trinidad (there’s where the title comes from); an ex-convict and former partner of York’s friend, rancher George Cullen; and a notorious gun for hire known as the Preacherman, who has come to Trinidad with a couple of minions to kill someone. York just doesn’t know who.

Complications quickly ensue. The railroad wants to build its spur line through George Cullen’s ranch. Cullen is opposed to the idea, but his daughter Willa (with whom York has had an on-again, off-again romance) supports the idea. York has to find out who the Preacherman’s target is, and just what is Cullen’s old partner up to, anyway? Before any of that can be sorted out, a tragedy occurs, and it’ll come as no surprise that what appears at first to be an accidental death is actually murder . . .

As you might expect, THE BLOODY SPUR is as much mystery novel as it is Western adventure, and it doesn’t skimp on either element. There’s plenty of both gunplay and detection before Caleb York untangles everything and delivers his own brand of justice. I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I think this is the best book so far. It’s well-plotted, and Collins’ style is about as smooth as any you’ll find, making for a very fast, entertaining read. I really enjoy his characters, too, especially Jonathan Tulley, former desert rat and current deputy to Caleb York. If these books were Western B-movies from the Forties (which they resemble in some ways), Tulley would have to be played by one of my favorite sidekicks, Al “Fuzzy” St. John.

THE BLOODY SPUR will be out later this month, but it’s available for pre-order, and if you’re looking for a very good traditional Western, I give it a high recommendation.


8 comments:

roadgeek said...

Excellent news. My wife and I really enjoyed the first book in the series. I pictured Kirk Douglas in the role of Caleb York, and my wife sees Ken Curtis as Tulley.

James Reasoner said...

Both of those bits of casting would work just fine.

Anonymous said...

I loved the first book in the series but was disappointed in the second one which surprised me because Max Allan Collins is a writer who almost never disappoints. Maybe I was just in a fussy mood when I read the second tome. Thanks for the fine review, James, I am looking forward to reading, "The Bloody Spur."

Jim Meals

Keith West said...

I will have to work this series into the TBR pile.

Colby Jackson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I have never read Max Allan Collins though I have read good things about his writing, especially his Mike Hammer novels, and, of course, his association with Mickey Spillane. Collins has written an awful lot of books and it's a bit of a challenge where to start. Do you have any suggestions, James?

James Reasoner said...

Prashant,
You're right, there's a lot to choose from. My favorite of the books I've read is probably TRUE DETECTIVE, the first book in the Nathan Heller series. The Quarry series is excellent, too. Publication order for them is not the same as chronological order. The first one chronologically is THE FIRST QUARRY. You can jump into that series just about anywhere, though. Everything I've read by him has been top-notch, so I don't think you'll go wrong by reading anything you come across.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Thanks very much, James. I will be reading Max Allan Collins this year.