Above the Law ★★★☆☆

abovethelaw (Custom)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
Series: ———-
Author: Max Brand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 83
Words: 22K



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.


My Thoughts:

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.



bookstooge (Custom)

17 thoughts on “Above the Law ★★★☆☆

  1. This sounds less than amazing; just cliches, or anything fresh in there?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      All cliches. It was his first book as well as being written in 1918, so it might have been original back then. It is really hard to judge that as so much water has passed under the bridge. Just like it is hard for new SF readers to read golden age and not roll their eyes, even though those books/authors are foundational…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If you want a different kind of western … I could point you towards a Steampunk Zombie Western 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ola G says:

    Huh, doesn’t sound like something I’d try… Have you ever wanted to read McClellan? Hard to remember if you’ve actually read it or not, but maybe you’d enjoy it as urban crime/Western/fantasy mix 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A western! What a surprise! What didn’t you like about Zane Grey?

    I really haven’t tried any westerns although I have a very small urge to read The Sackett series. I can’t see that I’m going to get to it though unless I live to be 110. 🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      The one or two Zane Grey’s I read were more old timey men’s adventure stories that just happened to take place out west.

      The Sacketts, and L’Amour, are pretty much the silver standard for Westerns in my opinion. I don’t think there is a gold standard 😉


  5. HCNewton says:

    Wow. That guy’s got quite the list of works (and the author’s list of pen names is huge!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. savageddt says:

    Been playing a western game on the PS3 that i realy like so far. Has a great story

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What makes you want to absolutely read Western amidst all the other genre you pick up regularly? 😮

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You said this was written in 1918? Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve read any genre books that old. (Or really anything particularly old besides Austen and Shakespeare, I guess.) Good to hear that it’s still enjoyable after all these years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I don’t read much turn of the century stuff. I think most of that has to do with what was being written at the time. I hate the roaring 20’s with a passion and that seems to be what has stood out from 1900-1950. World War I and II don’t do anything for me either, so I’m stuck 😀


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