Friday, January 01, 2016

Forgotten Books: The Ham Reporter - Robert J. Randisi

Robert J. Randisi has long had a fondness for using historical characters in his fiction. Many of them appear in his Westerns, especially the Gunsmith series. But one of the best examples is THE HAM REPORTER, which has one of the most intriguing concepts I've come across: Bat Masterson, who has long since retired from being a lawman and has become a reporter and newspaper columnist in New York City, and his friend and fellow columnist Damon Runyon team up to solve the disappearance and ultimately the murder of another newspaperman. This brings them into conflict with a number of dangerous men who rule various factions of the city's criminal underworld.

Randisi has always known how to spin a fast-moving yarn with plenty of action and dialogue, and he's at the top of his game in THE HAM REPORTER. Masterson and Runyon may not be great detectives, but they're fine protagonists. Randisi does a fine job of working in all the history involved with the plot, explaining in an afterword the parts that really happened and the parts that are fiction. I read this book when it first came out and liked it, but I recently read it again and was even more impressed.

THE HAM REPORTER is available in a brand-new e-book edition as part of an impressive boxed set from Western Fictioneers called LEGENDS OF THE GUN. I don't know if it's Bob Randisi's best book because I haven't read all of them, but it's certainly near the top. If you enjoy historical mysteries, you definitely should check it out. Highly recommended.


Ed Gorman said...

One of Bob's very best. The depivtions of the street gangs are worth a novel of their own.

RJR said...

James, many thanks. This I still one of my favorites of my own books.

Cap'n Bob said...

I second the motion.

Mathew Paust said...

Yay-es! Haven't read Randisi in a while. Not sure how I missed this one, but it won't happen again!