Whip Dodge: Man Hunter
Idaho Territory. A bank robbery and murder in the town of Eagle Rock prompts the town marshal to request the assistance of the legendary bounty hunter, Whip Dodge. A trek across the desert brings the murdering bank robbers to justice, but Whip soon finds that there is more afoot than just robbery and murder. An old enemy has surfaced and is trying to take over the valley for himself. With the help of a couple of visiting Texas Rangers, a crotchety old judge, and the townspeople themselves, justice prevails and peace returns to Eagle Rock.
Review of Jake Hardy and Two Other Western Stories
Ramble House paperback
This is actually a new edition of WWA member Tallant's 2004 book, which was originally published by Silver Dollar Press.
Ramble House, with its quirky line of classic noir like Zorro creator Johnston McCulley's outrageous Crimson Clown, seems to be a much better fit for Tallant's tale - which cries out for John Ford bit players speaking the dialogue, and maybe Danny Borzage playing something melancholy on the accordion in the background.
The title character, cancer-stricken, sets out in 1838 on a final odyssey from Colorado Territory to a visionary Montana, accompanied by a deaf mute girl, and engaging in such adventures along the way as a knife-to-tomahawk fight for the release of three children captured by the Cheyenne Indians. I might wish that our author had not named his visiting Apache warrior Red Cloud at the very time when the illustrious Oglala Lakota of this name was living (and about sixteen), but there's little else of which to complain. Unabashedly old-timey and traditional, and if this is how you like 'em, you will.
Jake Hardy takes up most of the volume, with Day of the Fast Gun only occupying eleven pages, and the final offering Little Big Toe a mere five; yet this last mystical fantasy of a small boy in a valley tribe will (I suspect) haunt you more than five pages' worth, after you close the book covers.
Review of Whip Dodge, Man Hunter
This book is a classic story of good versus evil. The main character, Whip Dodge, is a veteran of the Civil War and a seasoned bounty hunter. When robbers strike the bank in Eagle Rock, killing two citizens, the town calls on Dodge to track down the men. But as Dodge trails the killers, an evil plot to take over the town begins to raise its ugly head, with Dodge stuck right in the middle.
Whip Dodge starts out rather slow, but the characters are very well developed, and Tallant makes sure that the reader doesn't forget their names. The severe repetition of the characters' names did compromise the flow of the book, but not so much that I wouldn't recommend it. Dodge is overall a good read, and towards the end Tallant really steps up the action, leaving the reader wanting more.