Friday, January 21, 2011

FFB: The Trailsman No. 248 Six Gun Justice


It has always felt to me that for a long time the western was a fairly squeaky clean genre. Sure there was plenty of violence and racial stereotypes to be found, but sex and foul language, along with really graphic violence was missing from Western books, films and music of the form. … and then came the 1970s, with the newly created film rating system that allowed for greater use of sex and violence in film. Looking back at the Wild Bunch, you can see the seeds of what was on its way.

Naturally this overflowed into books and the ‘Adult Western’ was born. The Trailsman series wasn’t the first or the last of the genre, but since we are talking aobut volume #248, it’s safe to say that it was profitable for someone, and that there are enough readers who want adult Westerns for the market to keep printing them.

Plot wise there really isn’t much off the beaten path going on in the book. The Trailsman rides into town, makes friends, has some fights, gets drafted into being part of the town government, and helps to get the town on the right track. Along the way he has some medium core sex, and PG 13 rated violence.

As with the plot there isn’t much to the character, or any of the characters. They are all pretty standard people, they serve their purpose and do what they need to keep the plot moving, and everything ends, as it should with the Trailsman back on the trail. It’s a entertaining enough read, but why bother writing about it? Is there something going on in the book that caught my fancy? Yes and no.

The reason that I am writing about this book is, well I read it for starters, and I am pretty sure that the author is going to be a long to read this review at some point and I wanted to talk about that. As I think most of us know, John Sharp is a name that the company uses for these books and they are written on a work for hire basis by working writers. I am sure they have helped to pay for new alternators for the car, a new water heater, or just plain bill for plenty of folks slugging it out in the trenches. The nature of work for hire writing also keeps these wordsmiths from straying to far afield, getting to fancy (did I really use that word twice in this review?) or even investing too much beyond what the editors of such books want. Is there really any reason for a writer for hire to deliver anything too far out of the bible for a series like this?

I have had a number of authors pop up and leave comments when I have written about their books here, and most of that has gone pretty well. I want to make sure that they all know that I am writing about their books, because they have stuck with me, or left me with something of value. It might have been a way to pass a couple of hours, or a scene or moment, but it’s something. Even as I have spoken about the nothing out of the ordinary (note I didn’t say fancy) story of this book, I don’t disparage it for being what it is… mass market, plot driven, work for hire that is intended to get the readers dough, put some cash in the writers pocket (and help him or her network and maybe get their own books out there via connections with editors and publishers) and hopefully entertain whom ever sits down to read the book.

The Trailsman, he’s a wander, who I have spent a couple of hours reading about, watching him wander though this adventure. I have a couple of more of his adventures by the same author, and maybe sometime down the road I’ll catch up with them… fancy or not.

This is the second of twenty six Friday Forgotten Books, you can find past entries HERE. Patti Abbot has been collecting these posts on her blog for the last couple of years, she can be found HERE. This weeks collections of posts are going to be rounded up by Evan Lewis and he can be found over HERE.


James Reasoner said...

Yep, that was my second Trailsman novel. I think the one I did a few months after that, HIGH COUNTRY HORROR, is probably my best contribution to that series.

Iren said...

James thank for the input, I hope that I did you justice with my comments.

Evan Lewis said...

Nice review, Eric. Neat but not fancy.