THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLAT is a very slim story to build a movie on, though it has been done several times. A lot must be added. A spaghetti western, FOUR OF THE APOCALYPSE, though it also used elements of Harte’s other story, The Luck of Roaring Camp.
Here we have a love interest for Oakhurst(Preston Foster, Helen(Jean Colby), a small girl called Luck, and a preacher named Sam Wood(Van Heflin) who led the vigilance committee and loved Helen. They did get the end of the story right though.
All ebooks accepted for review.
1: The Axeman of Storyville – Heath Lowrance: Retired Marshal Gideon Miles runs a nightclub in 1921 New Orleans. He gets drawn into the hunt for an ax murderer.
2: Crumble – Victor Penro: Kent Robbs lives in his own dark, sad world, and he isn’t sure what it would take to turn him into someone who could fit with the rest of society. An amazing guitarist, he’s nevertheless cursed with stage fright that keeps him from truly using his gift. After a run of bad luck that is literally fiery, someone finally lends him a hand.
3: A Man From Rio – Shayne Youngblood: Rio de Janeiro – a quintessential tropical paradise riddled with drug gangs and violence. In a world where the narco racket is a legitimate business, the competition has a tendency to disappear so thoroughly that nobody remembers they’d ever existed. When a small operator and retired conman falls for a skinny, fragile girl who’s “not even his type,” he puts himself on a collision course with destiny. His time is running out in a city where a witness has a shorter lifespan than a monarch butterfly, and to find the truth, he has to unearth secrets buried so deep in the web of conspiracy and corruption that the revelation might wipe away the whole city and its powers. When walking away is not an option, in order to stay alive and find the truth, he must face the questions: What is worth living for? And what is worth dying for? And answers take him to the point of no-return, where all choices are long gone, and he finds himself walking alone down the only path left, a one-way road – the road of revenge.
4: Rerun – Chris Manteria: Do you truly believe that you control your fate, that you can be whoever you want to be, that anyone can be the President? “Apply yourself and you can do whatever you like.” That’s a bunch of half assed horseshit, and I am living proof. Because of that I drink. Some would call me a drunk. I have to ask, if you were forced to see the future and knew there was nothing you could do to change it, wouldn’t you drink, too? I prefer Guinness. It goes down smooth and takes the edge off. It dulls my senses while eliminating the visions. Most of all it makes me forget. Forget what, you ask? It makes me forget the terrible things I’ve seen, that fate makes me its bitch, over and over again, that I am powerless against tide of time and the universe. Most of all it makes me forget the pain. That is until I saw her.
5: The Blade – sholes & Moore: While investigating the theft of a 4000-year-old biblical artifact, a federal agent finds herself confronted with an international fugitive who threatens to destroy Las Vegas with a nuclear device if a multi-million-dollar ransom from the casinos is not paid.
6: How White People Die – Ernie Lindsey: According to small town Detective Billy Showalter, the death of a local resident, Ellen Hardy, is obviously a homicide. From the noose, to the way her wrists are tightly bound, to the voodoo doll hanging in a nearby tree, all signs point to a dreadful murder. But Del Prince, his longtime partner and family friend of forty years, has a different idea.
When Billy wakes up in the hospital, confused and alive, what follows is his most confounding investigation to date. It’s a case full of lies, corruption, and family secrets that have been buried for decades. Just what does any of this have to do with events from twenty-five years ago, and why didn’t Del shoot to kill?
As with most spaghetti westerns, there is a revenge motif. Peter Lee Lawrence is Arizona, Garringo in the original Spanish. Money seems to mean little to him. He tracks a bounty down, planning to take him in alive until the fellow pulls a hideout gun, then tells the innkeeper to turn him in for the reward. He carries a gold bullet intended for his target. We see him angrily [ull down a private property sign with the name A. Styles on it, then check out a wrecked ranch house with a picture hanging on one wall that he muses on dreamily.
Austin Styles(Frank Brana) has his name on every business in town, has been buying up all the property, or outright killing them if they won’t sell. It’s all about copper in the surrounding hills.
Only a few ranchers hold out. One is an old man named Duffy(Roberto Camardiel) who Arizona hooks up with. His niece, Catharine(Maria Pia Conte) is about to marry Style, merely a ploy to get the final mining contracts. Her father and Duffy had once been partners with Styles until the man became greedy and, the naive young girl that she is, Styles had convinced her that Duffy had murdered her father.
There’s also a mysterious gunman, Towers(Carlo Baddi) hanging around town. Arizona and he know each other, if by reputation if not really. Styles hires him to take out Arizona who’s organizing the few ranchers left.
Decent little western directed by Juan Bosch, billed as John Wood, who also wrote the script. Music is by Bruno Nicolai.
Lew Archer checks into a motel late one night after the man he was following crosss into Mexico. He’s awakened by a woman screaming, fynds her standing at the room next door with blood on her hand. He gets two stories: first the girl cut her hand, then when he spots the blood-covered sheet, he’s told a man had a nose bleed.
None of hid business until shortly down the road, he finds a black Cadillac with a naked dead man behind the wheel, a makeshift bandage around his waist made of a woman’s slip, monogrammed with the name Fern.
Back at the motel, after calling the cops, he gets a third story: a blowsy early forties blond with a gun.
He’s soon involve with gangsters wanting Fern and the description doesn’t match the one he’d been given.
A nice novella originally published in the early fifties.
Archer gets hired by a man who wants his sister returned home. She’d married an artist with a reputation and the man was worried the fellow was after money. The siblings had a school founded by their father worth money.
Archer didn’t like his client. He seemed more interested in money than his sister’s happiness.
The case devolves into a bigger mess right away.
A fine story.
Retired U.S. Marshal Gideon Miles gets asked to look into an ax murderer in New Orleans. He refuses at first. After all, it’s 1921, he’s now an owner of a jazz club with his wife Violet, and he’s sixty-one.
A madam and one of her girls ask him. Three prostitutes have been murdered in the last six months. But when three goons with the Black Hand order him to stay out of Storyville, Miles changes his mind.
Another exciting adventure of the black U.S, Marshal, albeit his latter years, created by Edward Grainger(David Cranmer). Can be ordered here.
James Franciscus starred in this 1971 series as blind insurance investigator Michael Longstreet. It was based, very loosely, on mystery writer Baynard Kendrick’s character blind private eye Duncan Maclain who appeared in fourteen novels starting in 1937. The only real connection was that the two investigators were blind. I covered three of the novels HERE, HERE, and HERE.
The pilot for the series was shown recently on ME Tv and I wondered how it would hold up. It had been a long time since I’d watched any of them. It did, though one could look at it as a period piece. Set in New Orleans, it was of it’s time with clothes, music, and slang.
Longstreet is blinded, his wife Ingrid killed, when a champagne bottle explodes. The pilot is invested with his learning to function as a blind man, taught by John MacIntire. Jeanette Nolan plays his mother in the pilot. He acquires a white German Shepherd named Pax and a cane with a device that sends sonar beams out, allowing Longstreet to gauge distance by the speed of sound.
Longstreet has a burning desire to find and kill whoever planted the bomb. To that end, they begin checking out past cases Longstreet had broken for the insurance company. Until a chance remark about ANOTHER jewelry heist just like the one that had happened the same night as the bomb blast.
Eventually three jobs are pulled. Same M.O. Three men in coveralls and Halloween masks. Never speak. Top floor of the building. Said building locked down before they can get away, but no trace can be found.
The show only lasted twenty-three episodes plus the pilot, which started as a movie of the week.
1: Sierra Skullduggery(ARC) – Jerry S. Drake: Retired lawman Tom Patterson, now in the freight business with his wife Betty, is offered a job using his gun. He refuses and then iss threatened with his wife’s life(they claim to have her). There’s more to Betty though and Patterson ets out to find and warn his potential victim of the plot on his life. And rubs into a mess.
2: Glorius(ARC) – Jeff Duinn: Cash McClendon is running from someone, headed toward the love of his life in the small mining town of Glorius. We get his back story in pieces as the story moves along.
and the ebooks: thrillers all, offered free. They look good and expect to get to them soon.
3: Alive and Killing – Jeff Carson: a David wolf novel
4: Crime Czar – Tony Dunbar
5: Torch Ginger – Toby Neal: a Lei crime novel
6: Deadly Intruder – Anne Kelsey
7: Plaster City – Johnny Shaw: a Jimmy Veeder fiasco. Really liked the first novel in the series.
8: As The Crow Flies – Damien Boyd: a DI Nick Dixon crime novel
9: Murder For Greenhorns – Robert Kresge: a western.
Author Jerry S. Drake was new to me when I picked up SIERRA SKULLDUGGERY, the sequel to
THE GUNFIGHTER’S APPRENTICE. I was quite pleased with the book and easily got into it without having read the first.
it’s the story of former lawman Tom Patterson and his wife Betty after they settle in California and go into the freight business.
Early forties, good with a gun, and with a bit of a reputation, Patterson gets a job offer he turns down. He doesn’t hire his gun out to kill people. The man then tells him they have Betty and will kill her unless he does the job.
But Betty’s no shrinking violet and gets the drop on the four men come after her and has them arrested. Tom gts home to learn of it and, but for a lazy lawman who lets the quartet talk their way out of jail, might have found out who and what they wanted from him.
A determined man, Patterson sets out to find the unknown victim to warn him and runs into a mess that takes the both of them into more trouble.
Quite enjoyed this one and will certainly track down the first volume. Can be ordered here.