Friday, 23 January 2015

CHARLES ALLEN GRAMLICH - KILLING TRAIL

Synopsis/blurb…..
RIDE INTO DANGER! 

Killing Trail is a collection of western short stories by Charles Allen Gramlich, the author of the Talera Trilogy and Cold in the Light. It contains: 

Killing Trail: When they dumped Angela Cody on Lane Holland’s ranch she was scant moments from death. She managed to speak only a few words, but those were enough to make Lane strap on his guns and ride out on a killing trail. 

Showdown at Wild Briar: Accused of a murder he didn’t commit, Josh Allen Boone has ridden a long way from his Wild Briar Ranch. But now he’s coming home, and the real killers are waiting for him with a rope. 

Powder Burn: They said Davy Bonner’s luck had run out and they ambushed him along a dark road. But luck or no, Davy wasn’t going down without a fight. 

Once Upon a Time with the Dead: For the gray raiders, death was an old friend. 

The work also includes two nonfiction essays, one about Louis L’Amour and another about the real Wild West. 

Charles Allen Gramlich is a novelist and short story writer, as well as – a husband, father and university professor. Most of his work is classed as either fantasy or science fiction with a splash of horror thrown in. He does write in the Western genre also.

Blog friend Prashant first read this and offered up a review combined with an interview with the author over on his blog. Having read and enjoyed a few westerns sporadically over the years – mainly early Elmore Leonard stuff I bought a copy of this short collection back in April last year.

Verdict – enjoyable and a decent hour or so’s reading with another notch on the scoreboard at the end of it. I always kind of feel Westerns are crime fiction within a specific setting. Someone has usually been wronged and there’s a pursuit to extract justice and bring the culprit to heel, or more usually place him in the ground six feet under. There’s usually quite clearly drawn lines between good and bad, white hats and black hats.

So 4 tales then, one a short, short piece with a dose of the supernatural – probably my least favourite of the lot. The other 3 had a depth to them that isn’t always easy to pull off in short story format…..characters with motivation and settings and a sense of place that had me spitting dust from mouth as I read. Without spoiling justice gets served in the end, or revenge is taken…..what’s the difference?

Showdown at Wild Briar would be my favourite of the bunch. Our hero is tricked into returning home for his own lynching. Josh Allen Boone is falsely accused of murder and betrayed by his first love. You just can’t trust a woman, can you? (My wife is the obvious exception to the rule!)

A decent hour’s reading and I’ll be back for more from the author if he has any more like these in his saddlebags!

4 from 5

Charles Allen Gramlich’s blog - Razored Zen is here.

Bought on Amazon UK for kindle.





21 comments:

  1. Col, many thanks for the redirect. It was kind of Charles to do the interview. I'm glad you enjoyed KILLING TRAIL. I particularly remember "Showdown at Wild Briar" as the name and character of Josh Allen Boone stayed with me long after I read it. I hope this is going to prompt you to read more westerns and review them too.

    I agree, apart from the setting, westerns can be classified as crime stories. Sometimes I feel they are disguised as crime yarns.

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    1. Prashant, thanks for the tip-off. I have a 600 plus page Western I'll be starting in February - wish me luck!

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    2. Col, good luck with the western tome. I don't think I have read anything that imposing, not counting some of the Harry Potters. I plan to read some good historical westerns someday. More dates and events, the better, history being my favourite subject at school.

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    3. Cheers - I don't think I have tackled anything this long for a while - NUNSLINGER by STARK HOLBORN

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    4. Col, that's an unusual title for a book. I like the twist. Never heard of it, though, so I look forward to your review.

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    5. It does feature a nun in it - Sister Thomas Josephine and the year is 1864, it was previously released in 12 parts. According the one review - RANKS AMONGST THE BEST THAT THE WESTERN GENRE HAS TO OFFER - Pornokitsch.

      Apparently the author name used is a pseudonym, I wonder who it really is.

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    6. Col, I guess, the Civil War will feature in the book. The author's does name sound like an imprint or a syndicate.

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    7. Prashant, watch this space then, we'll soon know!

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  2. Col - Glad you enjoyed this one. I'll confess; I'm not usually much of a one to read Westerns. They've never really been my cuppa. But it sounds like a solid and well-written collection. And Prashant has a great blog - nice to see it highlighted here.

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    1. Margot it would be a dull old world if we all liked the same thing. I'm in agreement with you on Prashant's blog though - one of my favourite places to visit!

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    2. Much thanks, Ms. Kinberg and Col. You made my weekend extended by our Republic Day celebrations on Monday, January 26, where Obama is chief guest this year.

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    3. Enjoy the celebrations - hopefully no fireworks! No holidays in the UK until Easter - April time,

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  3. Thanks for the review. Glad you enjoyed!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Charles apologies I initially replied without wearing my glasses! Thanks for stopping by - I really enjoyed these tales - more power to your keyboard!

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  4. I'm off to give this one a read. Prof. Gramlich is a fine writer in my estimation.

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  5. I recognized the name, but then you helped me out by reminding me that it was from Prashant's blog! Well both of you write about some books I probably won't read (as well as many I will) but I always enjoy the reviews....

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    1. Moira, not tempted then, no problem - one we'll cover for you!

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  6. Col, I would like to try something by Gramlich. Not sure which genre I want to go with, though. Both your post and Prashant's have encouraged me to try some of his writing.

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    1. He does write fantasy and science fiction which is more your thing than mine. I did read on one of his posts that he is trying to write a book in every genre - maybe wait for his mystery one?

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