Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Bounty Killer by Marvin H. Albert

The Bounty Killer by Marvin H. Albert
Gold Medal 760, Copyright 1958

Marvin Albert had talent and was a versatile author. Crime fiction, adventure thrillers, westerns, P.I. mysteries, movie adaptations, screen plays-he covered the field. He had a way of building a strong introduction to a story and using that as momentum to guide the reader through the entire novel. From 1956 until 1964, he authored seven Gold Medal Westerns. You won't find anything extraordinary about these early Westerns by Marvin Albert, they are just good solid stories.

Before anyone realized what he was going to do, Faradin took two fast steps to Luke's prone figure, raised one booted foot, and deliberately brought it down with all his strength and weight on Luke's right forearm that leaned against the bar rail.
"You'll never scare anybody with that fast gun again, bounty hunter," Faradin said.

The bounty hunter's name is Luke Chilson. He's young and tall, raised with humble fiber to be polite and play by the rules. Burt Faradin just escaped from a stage where he was under guard to Yuma prison. Luke heads out to get him and stops over in the sleepy town of Westgate Wells. Later Burt Faradin arrives and teams up with his boys waiting in the town, and now Luke finds himself in a "snake pit" situation. The town is just a lone waystation supplying goods to a mining camp miles away. Westgate Wells is isolated and all are trapped with Burt Faradin holding most of the cards. But our boy Luke is a brave man and sets out to make things right. Violent action heats up and he gets busted up fairly bad in an excellent fight scene in the story. Beaten so bad and unable to use a gun and move freely, Luke relies on his wits to even the score and bring justice back to Westgate Wells.

I call these good-clean westerns, as was the norm for the day. No real dark mysterious characters in these novels. The good guys and bad guys are clearly defined and there are no gray areas in their character. There is always a girl in the story and the two leading men have an interest in her. The town folk are the frighten rabbits, unwilling to support a man who arrived to hunt down his man. When put together by a good author like Marvin Albert, this story comes together into a fine 50s Western. Not the author's best Gold Medal Western, (The Law and Jake Wade, Posse at High Pass are superior) but a suspenseful one and still worth a read.

The Gold Medal Westerns by Marvin Albert:

The Law and Jake Wade (1956)
Apache Uprising (1957)
The Bounty Killer (1958)
Renegade Gun (1958)
The Reformed Gun (1959)
Rider from Wild River (1959)
Posse at High Pass (1964)

Later using the pseud. Al Conroy, he wrote four Clayburn westerns that were published by Dell.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found three Gold Medal westerns in my grandfather's box of books:

To Hell and Texas - Giles A. Lutz
Relentless Gun - Lutz
Killraine - Thorne Douglas

I expect to get to them during the Friday Forgotten Book initiative.

Nice review, especially the history part. If I consider myself a student at the University of Crime Fiction, I'm only in elementary school when it comes to western fiction. Thanks.