This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Above the Law
Author: Max Brand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Black Jim is a notorious outlaw known for robbing stage coaches of their payload of gold. Ruthless and a deadshot, several small towns have banded together and offered a big reward for his capture, dead or alive.
An out of work actress conceives a plan to have her partner pretend to be Black Jim, “capture” him, take the reward money and then once she has left, have her partner reveal he really isn’t Black Jim. What could go wrong with that? Of course, the real Black Jim shows up and takes the actress prisoner and also the other actor.
Black Jim is living in a community of outlaws, who are “Above the Law” and when he brings a woman into the mix, things get heated. The actor devolves and fits in with the other outlaws and they plan to kill Black Jim, steal all of his stolen gold and take the Actress for themselve.
Black Jim and the actress are married, make a daring escape and decide to go legit.
A classic “woman finds out outlaw has a heart of gold”. Not as mawkish as I was afraid it might be at the beginning. However, the short length saved it from becoming tedious.
This is my 3rd foray into the western genre. While L’Amour I would consider a success (in my reading I mean), Zane Grey was a complete flop. Based on this story, ol’ Max Brand is going to fall squarely in the middle.
Honestly, I’m hoping to read as much of his stuff as possible just to change up my reading.