Hole In The Wall Barrett ★★★☆½


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: Hole In The Wall Barrett
Author: Max Brand
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 18
Words: 5.5K



Synopsis:

A tough guy lawyer defends a murderer who poisoned his own uncle. The lawyer does this because his wife asks him too and tells him the defendant is her lover. The lawyer wins the case, apologizes to his wife for making her think he didn’t love her and promises to do better if she’ll come back. She does. The lawyer then has a “private” meeting with the defendant in his soundproof room, which we see him in warming up a poker and oiling up a whip.

My Thoughts:

Brand starts out the story by clearly defining who the villain and hero are by how they look. You can tell he is being over the top sarcastic and ironic. It’s not immediately obvious he’s being sarcastic, but by the end when it fades out just as the husband is about to horsewhip the murderous scum who dared mess with his wife, it’s all there in black and white.

How the lawyer makes the jury think his client is innocent by drinking the poison was rather neat. How he makes sure it doesn’t affect him by eating raw eggs beforehand and having a doctor right outside the courtroom to pump his stomach, well, that is going above and beyond the call of duty. But he gets his client acquitted. Of course, Justice is served. That had me pumping my fist and exclaiming “Oh yeah!!!”

I am finding that these short stories by Brand are working great for me. It is just enough of a different taste from my typical SFF/Classic that it cleanses the palate but without being long enough to give me a literary tummy ache.

Technically, the title is Hole-in-the-Wall Barrett, but if I ever go searching for this title by search, there is no way I’m going to remember all those stupid hyphens. You’re welcome, future me.

★★★☆½

John Ovington Returns ★★★☆☆

johnovingtonreturns (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: John Ovington Returns
Series: ———-
Author: Max Brand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Western
Pages: 20
Words: 6.5K

Synopsis:

John Ovington returns to his ancestral home in Connecticut, to find a series of letters between his Great Grandfather and his fiance. Great Grandfather goes to war, the girl marries someone else and Great Grandfather vows he’ll get the girl in the end.

John Ovington finds out he has a new neighbor, who looks exactly like Great Grandfather’s fiance and that she is running off with a beau. She writes a series of letters exactly the same as the Great Grandfather’s fiance and history begins to repeat itself.

John Ovington gets the girl and breaks the cycle that Fate had ordained for him.

My Thoughts:

For some reason, almost all the editions show this as being a full novel at over 500 pages. It is just a short story at 16-20 pages and I sure do feel bad for anyone who bought it (even for 99cents) thinking it was a full book.

The synopsis pretty much says it all. This is some sort of love, ghost, thingy, story. I tagged it western, but considering it takes place in Connecticut, probably “frontier” might have been more appropriate. I’m guessing this was for a magazine back when it was first published. It has 3 chapters and that fits with a serial short story in a magazine spread over 3 issues.

It was actually nice to read something so short and then be done. I spent 30 minutes or less reading it and then bam, finished. Truth be told, I’ve probably spent more time searching out the correct page number and writing this little piece than I did reading. While it feels like cheating (I’ll including this as a “book” in my monthly roundup numbers), I think that including my Page Count numbers more than makes up for it.

Giddy’up!

★★★☆☆

Harrigan ★★★☆☆

harrigan (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: Harrigan
Series: ———-
Author: Max Brand
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 225
Words: 65K

 

Synopsis:

Harrigan, a red irishman, is in Hawaii, looking for something to keep him moving. He joins in a fight and backs up a black irishman and finds out he’s a captain of a vessel. They go their separate ways until Harrigan’s wanderings bring him to the docks. He sees the captain’s ship taking off and jumps aboard. The Captain takes him aboard as a common sailor but promises that he’s going to break Harrigan.

A woman sees Harrigan being broken and tries to intervene, thus making things even worse. This brings her to the Captain’s attention however and suddenly there is even more bad blood between Harrigan and him. A hurrican destroys the ship and the woman, the Captain and Harrigan all end up on a deserted island. The woman uses deception to keep a fragile peace and both men abide by it until they are rescued.

They are rescued by a crony of the Captain who is even more powerful and even worse than the Captain. The breaking of Harrigan begins all over again. The new Captain is a cruel hard man and his crew eventually mutinies. Harrigan gets dragged in to protect the woman and the old Captain gets involved to try to take her away from Harrigan. Things go badly for everyone, the ship is destroyed and our trio make their way to some homestead in South America. There they find out that The Great War has started and they all, unbeknownst to each other, join up.

 

My Thoughts:

Love triangle. And yet I never once considered putting this book down. If you want two testosterone laden Irishmen trying to beat the living daylights out of each other and break the other’s spirit, all the time, this is the book for you!

And for anyone who doesn’t know (cause I didn’t for years and years) red irish and black irish refer to the hair color, not their skin.

This was a story about men being stupid and yet glorious all at the same time. I laughed, I groaned, I sympathized, I shook my head and rolled my eyes. Why I didn’t abandon this? Because the action between them was so intense it was like the words jumped off the page and grabbed hold of me and didn’t let me go. While their hands were around each other’s throat, they were just as much around mine. But even with that, it still only gets 3 stars because of love triangles and stupidity.

Also, this isn’t a western. It is a Men’s Adventure Story.

★★★☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

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

 

Synopsis:

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)