Friday, February 03, 2017

Forgotten Books: Devil's Butte - Ray Hogan

DEVIL'S BUTTE is another short, fast-moving traditional Western by Ray Hogan. The hero, Dave Bonner, is a small rancher from Arizona who is entrusted by his neighboring ranchers with enough money to buy new stock for all of their herds. When Bonner stops some hardcases from tearing up a cantina, he makes enemies of them. Later, they jump him, beat him up, steal his money (and the money belonging to his neighbors), and leave him to die in the desert.

Bonner doesn't die, of course, and when he gets out of the desert he sets out to find the men and recover the money. That's the plot, and the way it develops is extremely predictable. However, Hogan is so skillful with his pacing and action that the predictability of the plot really doesn't matter. The reader is drawn right into the story and has a great time with it. At least I did. I also enjoyed the fact that the lone female character in the book is pretty much as tough, smart, and competent as the hero.

One minor complaint I have with most of Hogan's books: he has a habit of switching back and forth between the hero's first and last name when referring to him. In this case, sometimes the hero is "Dave", sometimes he's "Bonner". I like it better when an author settles on one name or the other and sticks with it most of the time.This book was originally published by Ace Books in 1967 as half of an Ace Double, but I read the 1993 large print edition from Thorndike. I'll probably be reading more by Ray Hogan in the near future.

By the way, I have no idea why the guy on the cover of the Ace edition appears to be wearing sunglasses. Pretty odd for a Western.

1 comment:

George said...

I pick up ACE Doubles whenever I find them. I have a number of ACE Double westerns but not this one. Now I want to find it because of those mysterious sunglasses!