Friday, April 04, 2014

Forgotten Books: The Lonely Gun - Gordon D. Shirreffs

Case Hardesty is in a tough spot. On the run from the law after a bank robbery, his partners double-cross him and try to kill him, but he winds up with the loot. His former partners are still after him, though, and so is a posse led by a relentless lawman. To reach safety he has to cross a stretch of brutal desert along the border between Arizona and Mexico. While trying to do that he runs into a man and a couple of beautiful women who are being pursued by a deadly gunfighter. All of them converge on an old abandoned mission that's rumored to be haunted, and if that's true there'll be more ghosts there before this showdown is over.

Is that a great set-up for a hardboiled Western novel or what? In the hands of one of the all-time masters of that genre, Gordon D. Shirreffs, THE LONELY GUN is a fast-paced, highly entertaining yarn with a lot of gritty action that leads up to a memorable and unusual climax. Originally published as a paperback original by Avon in 1959 and reprinted several times since, it's now available in an e-book version from Prologue Books. I had a fine time reading THE LONELY GUN, and if you like traditional Westerns I give it a high recommendation.

And isn't Case Hardesty a perfect name for a Western hero?


Walker Martin said...

I have a ton of western paperbacks and I'll have to see if I have this one. Sounds great. Hopefully there is no pretty girl character because in reality they were few and far between in the west. Except for the bar girls and prostitutes and a few wives of ranchers, it really was a man's world.

Peter Brandvold said...

I haven't read this one, and I'm glad I haven't. I'll be downloading from Prologue soon. And there better be a pretty girl in it, or two or three! You don't read pulp westerns for reality. If you want reality, you go to Time-Life, fer cryin' in the Queen's beer!

James Reasoner said...

There are two pretty girls in this one. I think I have to agree with Pete. I've read some Westerns with no female characters, and most of them were sort of dull. (Not all. It's possible to write a good Western with no women, of course.)

George said...

I've read a half dozen Gordon D. Shirreffs' westerns and enjoyed them all. THE LONELY GUN is a great title!