July 2015 Book Round-Up

This is Tracy again working from Randy’s computer, as we’re sorting through anything that needs to be taken care of.  This is a list of books for this month he added to as he finished them, so I’m posting it on his behalf.

204: TH: Black Is The Color – John Brunner

205: WE: To Swallow the Earth – Ransom A. Wilcox

206: TH: Killing Maine – Mike Bond

207: TH: The Templar Succession: A Novel(ebook) – K. R. Eckert

208: WE: I Am A Roving Gambler(ebook) – Bill Crider

209: HR: The Swiss Family RobinZOM (Book 2)(ebook) – Perrin Briar

210: TH: Death of A Guru – Doug Greenall

211: WE: Freed Men (West of the Dead Line Book 2)(ebook) – Phil Truman

212: WE: Amos Flagg: High Gun – Clay Randall

213: TH: Murdering Lawyers – Larry Fine

It’s Been Fun

By the time you read this, I will be gone. My health is not what it should be these days, the result of a lifetime of doing all the wrong things.

I just want to take the time to say good-bye to those of you out there I’ve come to know in the internet land. I’ve never met any of you and never expected to, but I consider you friends and hope you do the same. The same likes and interests brought us together.

It made my life better to a degree to follow your blogs each day, to laugh or cry at the things you posted on, to participate in discussions on various subjects. My disability kept me confined to the house for the most part. I can go in my car on a limited basis to any place where I didn’t have to get out(kind of limits destinations though). Mostly it is just trips to doctors.

I live alone. Family members or friends call or come by every day to help out(I don’t know how I’d have made it without them), but I’m alone most of the day. So mostly my world consisted of books, my computer, and television in that order.

One thing I’ve missed the last few years is going to the brick and mortar book stores. My little town had a Waldenbooks, but it closed a few years back, and there are no others, not even a used store. The nearest city with bookstores is thirty-eight miles away. It has the usual chains and a couple of independents as well, though bookstores in general are slowly starting to disappear.

The internet and Amazon made it possible for me to get books delivered here. That was only good for things I knew about though. That stumbling across the occasional little gem was a thing of the past except for all you folks’ blogs. Especially Patti Abbott’s Forgotten Books on Fridays. That brought a wealth of new finds for me(I wish I could have afforded all of them). But I found recommendations from all of you that I might never have tried otherwise.

Thank You!

It’s been a lot of fun. I’m saving this post and will have a family member post the particulars when the time comes.

Good Bye to all!

Drummer of Vengeance (Il giorno del giudizio)1971


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imageThe title character is a small mechanical toy, the only thing our hero finds in the ruins of his home when he comes home from the war, a Union officer(Ty Hardin who we know only as the Stranger), finding the home burned to the ground. His wife and son had been murdered. A lot of the film is flashbacks, from The Stranger’s point of view as well as some of the villains.

The glaring plot hole is The Stranger says he knows all of the men who did this but the laeder. How did he know this? The ashes were cold. And if he knew the participants, how did he not know the leader.

The drummer toy is used to terrorize his targets, he winding it up, setting it250px-GiornoGiudizio on the ground, and saying “When it stops, make your move!”

He uses a multitude of disguise. mostly a doomsayer predicting dire consequences as the men are shot down. Also, an undertaker.

This film has a checkered history. As was common back then, the English language release was heavily cut. The version I saw had most of those scenes restored, mostly add-ons to longer ones. You’d be watching and they would break into Italian for a few senrences. Especially noticeable in the wild west sequence. Spaghetti vet Craig Hill has a small role as O’Connor, the owner of the wild west show. During his spiel, he went back and forth from English and Italian. An Indian girl from the show, Rising01736001 Sun(Rossano Brazzi), aids The Stranger.

Two other vets had parts as well. Gordon Mitchell was the thinnest as a deputy and Rossano Brazzi was more prominent as the Sheriff.

The music score was mostly borrowed from The Hellbenders.

Not a great film. I have seen worse though.


FFB: Amos Flagg: High Gun – Clay Randall


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I’ve written about Amos Flagg before He’s sheriff of Sangaree County in the25689917 Texas panhandle. Based in the town of Academy, he had only one deputy. The pair were the only law in the whole county.

Gunner Flagg, father of Amos, was a former outlaw that had come to live in Academy after his last stint in Huntsville Prison. Amos hadn’t seen him in twenty years when that happened. He’d decided to go straight, mostly, when a scheme blew up in his face.

Straight, but still a bit of a con man at heart, he’s got another scheme secretly going. Having written newspapers back east, he’d sold them on a series of articles on bad men of the west. Jesse James wasn’t long murdered and readers were hot on these Robin Hoods. Gunner’s idea was to secretly get word out that there was a place to hide in a valley of Sangaree and plenty of good food and liquor available. A photographer/news reporter was part of the plan.

The outlaws would get good provisions and a place to rest. All ythat would be required was an interview and a few pictures.

But, as with all Gunner’s scams, things go awry and Amos is left to smooth it out and rescue the hostages.

Another terrific entry in Clifton Adams’s western series.

To Swallow The Earth – Ransom A. Wilcox



4165lw8uShL._SX392_BO1,204,203,200_The plot is not new, but I like what the author has done with it. A lot of action, hair breadth escapes as our heroes attempt to avoid the villains plans.

Wade Forester comes home to Nevada, in the silver rush years, after three years of wandering. His father is missing, his sister seems to have lost her mind after losing her child, and brother-in-law seems to want him dead. So he must stay in the shadows as he searches for the reasons. A beautiful Young woman named Patricia Laughlin is also looking for her family. She has trouble trusting anyone. Bridger Calhoun, the brother-in-law, just might be the man to do it.
The pair end up opposing each other after a crossing and Wade has a decision to make. Should he risk his life to help her? You know how things must go. Calhoun and Wade end up competing for her. She’s a key piece to what’s really going on in the little valley.

Everyone believes Wade a stone cold killer and wants him out of the way.

Well, not everyone. Wade has friends who fill him in on things happening in the valley and he doesn’t like it.

Well done western novel. The author lived in the area and knows it well. Can be ordered HERE.

Death of A Guru – Doug Greenall



Death of A Guru is a hard book to quantify. One cover blurb refers to it as a23717731 literary thriller, which makes as much sense as any I suppose.

It’s a tale of two men, Magnus “Magic” Larsen and Doctor Devon Clarke, their lives becoming intertwined as the story unfolds. Clarke wants something from Larsen, an ex-pat living in Asia. Clarke is a rich doctor with a cult following that he does little to discourage though he’s never claimed to be the faith healer his followers believe.

He does harbor a terrible secret that eats at him though. What he wants from Larsen, the young man doesn’t want to deliver.

The pushing, prodding, takes a couple of years. And there’s a nice twist at the end I didn’t see coming.

A tale of love, redemption, revenge, all wrapped in highly engaging prose. Doesn’t read like a first novel. Can be ordered HERE.

The Window(1949)


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220px-The_window_1949I’m indebted to Barry Ergang fo the email he sent touting the showing of this film(and one other) on Turner Classic. Based on a short story, The Boy Who Cried Murder, by Cornell Woolrich. The host of the showing said the film was originally shot in 1947, but shelved buy new studio owner Howard Hughes because he didn’t like kid movies. But after mismanagement by Hughes and threats of studio collapse, other heads prevailed and it was released in 1949 to great success. A 210,000 budget was greatly exceeded and brought the ailing studio success.

One interesting bit was, though set in a very hot summer(mention was made of mid-nineties temperatures), it was shot in1085 the middle of winter in New York City. Cast wore summer clothes and sprayed to simulate sweat, then bundled in heavy coats and fed hot soup when not in scenes.

Tommy Woodry(Bobby Driscoll) liked to tell tales, always regaling his friends with stories of the ranch his dad owned and how they were soon to move there after all the Indians were killed. It almost cost the family their apartment when the landlord brought prospective tenants to see it because they were moving in a few days. Mom and dad were furious. Barbara Hale plays mother Mary and Arthur Kennedy dad Ed.

That very night, Tommy sleeps on the fire escape trying to beat the heat, window-posterclimbing a floor where it was a bit cooler. There, outside the window of Joe(Paul Stewart) and Jean(Ruth Rman) Kellerson, Tommy witnesses them murder a man they were robbing, stabbing him with a pair of scissors. He neaks away as they hide the body in an abandoned building.

Of course no one believes him. Just another one of his stories. The parents castigate him. He sneaks out to the cops and they don’t buy it either. Mom even makes him apologize to the Kellersons, putting him on their radar.

That’s the meat of the film, his running, capture, escape, and showdown in the same abandoned building where the murder victim was hid.

A good film.


New In The House


1: The Avenger: The Sun God – Matthew Baugh: the first new Avenger novel in forty years froom Moonstone. The “villain” is a variation og the Nazi Doc Savage.

2: Protocol Zero(review copy) – James Abel: When authorities in Alaska receive a disturbing call from a teenage girl, their investigation leads them to discover an entire family of researchers dead. Joe Rush is called to help examine the bodies. On the surface, it looks like a brutal murder/suicide. But the situation is nowhere near that simple—nor is it over. Upon closer investigation, Rush discovers the terrifying truth. The research team has fallen victim to something that seems impossible at first, yet the evidence looks undeniable in the lab. Now the danger may threaten thousands more.

3: Deceit and Other Conveniences(review copy) – Alex Adelson: A mystery surrounding a Wall Street deal and an unexpected attraction between two unlikely protagonists is the basis for this contemporary American drama. Garrett Carlssen is an entrepreneur from a small town in Pennsylvania, who with his difficult and brilliant partner, Jersey Smart, has built a growing technology business. They need big money to continue growing the company. Enter, a Wall Street Banker, Anne Mills, who grew up in the same town as Garrett Carlssen, but in a different social stratum. She, and her Company, can supply the funds the company requires. The goals of each of these three people are very different and therein lay the seeds of conflict. Wall Street culture, ethics, and methods, along with the psychology of human behavior are the fabric of “Deceit and other Conveniences.”

and the ebooks:

4: Wake Up, Time To Die(ebook) – Chris Rhatigan: a collection of crime stories from Beat To A Pulp/

5: West of The Dead Line: Fred Men(review copy) – Phil Truman: The young slave Bass Reeves is captured by a Yankee spy during the 1862 Civil War campaign in Arkansas culminating in at the Battle of Pea Ridge. Set free by his captor, Bass wanders into the encampment of the 2nd Cherokee Mounted Rifles of the Southern Army. Colonel Stand Watie, directs the lost slave to stand and fight with them, which he does, all the way to the Confederate retreat from Elkhorn Tavern. Battling shoulder-to-shoulder with the brave Cherokee warriors during the fierce combat, Bass’s life is forever changed in a way he never before dreamed.

6: Cryo: Rise of The Immortals(review copy) – Geoffrey Wakeling: Earth is dying, but John Carlody has the chance to escape. He wins the most anticipated lotto ever; the opportunity to become part of CRYO, be one of fifty people to enjoy the latest cryonics technology and journey forward half a century. However, a dream come true could be a making of a nightmare. CRYO isn’t what it pretends to be and John is about to discover their secrets. But will he be too late?

7: Death Row Apocalypse(review copy) – Darrick Mackey: This new author brings with him a fresh perspective on the Zombie Genre. This story is non-linear for the most part, the threads merge as the main players are brought together. The Anti-Hero, a dark and somewhat twisted serial killer that enjoys his profession to an extreme, (hold on to your stomachs!), is double-crossed by the CIA. He finds himself narrowly escaping death row only to wake up in a prison, crawling with zombies. Our dark hero exercises his talents as he tries to lead a small group of visitors to safety, while countless zombies hunt the group down like vermin. Tearing them apart one by…