Friday, January 22, 2016

Forgotten Books: Outlaw in the Saddle - Tom Roan

I've read and enjoyed a few of Tom Roan's pulp stories, but this is the first novel of his that I've read. It has a great opening: a gang of outlaws led by the Apache Kid (a totally fictional Apache Kid, by the way; no relation to the real-life Army scout known by that name) robs a train and is then betrayed by one of their own and ambushed by a posse.

Roan writes great action scenes. After that, though, there's a long stretch where the book sags as the Kid is rescued by a beautiful girl and nursed back to health by her and her father. He falls in love with the girl, of course, and winds up fighting for her and her father against the villains who are out to destroy them. The book concludes with a couple more excellent action scenes.

Roan is no prose stylist. His writing is full of awkward phrases and oddly constructed sentences. He doesn't handle the romance angle well, either, slipping too easily into flowery melodrama. But he creates sympathetic characters, and I can forgive a lot of flaws for good characters and good action. Roan delivers both. His biggest problem in this book is the pacing. I suspect he's one of those writers who is better at novelette length, but I'll have to read more of his novels in order to determine that.

1 comment:

George said...

Tom Roan is a new writer to me. I'll look for OUTLAW IN THE SADDLE and Roan's other books. Thanks for the recommendation!