Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sabadilla by Richard Jessup

Sabadilla by Richard Jessup
Gold Medal 1048, Copyright 1960

Was looking forward to reading this western for a while, and finished it this weekend. Juan Cortez, the Sabadilla, is sort of a wanted revolutionary outlaw driven out of Mexico by the Federales. Trouble takes him into the Texas town of Coley, where the town sheriff has his hands full with a town ready to explode. This has a tough sheriff, a "Walter Brennan" type deputy, lynch mobs, a powerful cattle owner, gunslingers, and the fast gun and fast quirt of the Sabadilla. Jessup isn't afraid to have major characters die off during the course of the story and even the end isn't "happy" like many western from that era. There is something about the loner western character and this quick story (126 pages) captures it. There are better ones out there, but this one is good. Jessup captures the inner-haunts that the Sabadilla carries within: "How cold, Sabadilla? Would you let a thin line in the middle of the Rio Grande stop you? Would you let such a little line, so small that no one has seen it and perhaps never will, take away your warmth and your fire, Sabadilla? "


Juri said...

Excellent novel allright. I liked Jessup's Westerns more than his spy/crime novels as Richard Telfair.

And an excellent blog!

August West said...

Juri: I agree, I read a couple of Monty Nash novels by Richard Telfair and didn't care for them. I did like Wolfcop by Jessup that came out in 1961. Nice tough story...

Thanks for your comments

Anonymous said...

This is the most unforgettable Western I ever read. It was also a favourite of my uncle Dr. Suchitta Maitra who was a superb shot and a Western addict, and whose collection I went through as a teenager nearly fifty years ago. I suppose the thing that made this book special was the casting of a Mexican in the role of a Western hero - Mexicans are usually ignored as untermensch when they are not vilified as bandits and rustlers. To me the most unforgettable line of the book is the description of Sabadilla's draw speed by his future opponent : "Like God".